Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) was rushed to a Massachusetts hospital earlier today after he suffered a "seizure" at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport:
(CBS/AP) "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was airlifted to a hospital Saturday after suffering a seizure at his home, and did not appear to have had a stroke as initially suspected, his spokeswoman said.
The 76-year-old Kennedy, a liberal Democratic icon and the lone surviving son in a famed political family, was undergoing tests at Massachusetts General Hospital to determine the cause of the seizure, spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said."
"'Senator Kennedy is resting comfortably, and it is unlikely we will know anything more for the next 48 hours,' she said. Kennedy's wife, Victoria, was with him at the hospital, Cutter said."
"...New York. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, also issued a statement. 'My thoughts and prayers are with Ted Kennedy and his family today,' she said. 'We all wish him well and a quick recovery.'"
While I disagree with Sen. Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama and I thought that his comments last week were unfortunate regarding Sen. Clinton's campaign and a possible VP spot should she not win the nomination, Kennedy is a champion for progressive values and goals in the U.S. Senate. Along with others, I offer my thoughts and prayers for his recovery.
Jeralyn at TalkLeft has some informative thoughts and stats about older voters and their significance in this year's presidential election.
"When it comes to electability arguments for the superdelegates, however, I think there's something they need to consider -- that caucus results vastly undercount one particular segment of voters who will vote in big numbers in the general election: The elderly and infirm, including nursing home residents who weren't mobile enough to attend a caucus but who can vote by absentee ballot in primaries and the general election."
"If unable to attend caucuses, and most likely were, their preferences were excluded. This is one more reason I don't think that a superdelegate can equate a caucus win in a particular state with a win in that state against John McCain in November."
I went to the U.S. Census Bureau to get some numbers on older voters and to size up what they might mean for a GE in November. Here's what I found:
Voters ages 65 and up number 37.5 million, or 16.6% of the voting-age population. Voters between the ages of 45 and 64 number 76.5 million (33.6 percent). I include this age group because they are, by and large, more likely to support Hillary Clinton, as evidenced by exit polls - and a trend that is in line with Andrew Kohut's finding that older voters (those 45-years old and up) haven't been enthusiastic Obama supporters.
Additionally, older voters comprise a slightly larger share of the electorate (114 million), than do voters ages 18-44 (113 million); and older voters have been a more reliable voting demographic than younger voters in past elections.
Looking at caucus/primary results from three states, Nebraska, Texas and Washington, it becomes apparent that something has occurred between the caucus votes and the primary votes:
"Nebraska: Obama won the caucuses. He got 26,000 attendees to Hillary's 12,000. In yesterday's (May 13) primary, the vote was Obama 46,000 to Hillary 43,000, or 49% to 47%. One explanation for the sharp decline in support is buyer's remorse. Another, more probable explanation is that the caucuses were unrepresentative of the state's voters."
"Washington: Obama won the caucuses with 21,000 preferring Obama to 10,000 preferring Hillary, but in the primary held two weeks later, he only won 51% to 46%, 353,000 votes to 315,000 votes. Only the caucus votes were used to determine delegates."
"In Texas: Hillary won the primary vote 51% to 47% and by more than 100,000 votes, while Obama won the caucuses, perhaps by as much as 60% to 40%."
It could be, as Jeralyn notes, that "buyer's remorse" has set in with respect to Sen. Obama's margin of victory in the caucuses and his narrower victories (or losses) in primaries. Or (Jeralyn again), it might be that caucuses are not representative of a state's voters.
Here's a cool and informative map (does not include Alaska and Hawaii, though why I don't know. Perhaps Barack has now subtracted these two from the "57 states" comment he made last week when speaking at a campaign rally). The "map" shows where superdelegates are located, by state and by which candidate they have declared their support for. Blue and shades of blue are Hillary states and SDs. Green and shades of green are states from which SDs have not declared, or where some have declared but not all (thus the minus percentages). The map also utilizes "category circles" that are sized according to the percentage of superdelegates in each state - and where they are located within the state - who have declared support.
Any questions? There will be a test on this...
Hillary is ahead in the popular vote, with results from Florida and Michigan. According to ABC News, she leads Obama by 43,579 votes. Here are the tallies:
Although the Democratic National Committee and Sen. Obama continue to balk at including any results from these two states, the votes were counted and certified by the secretaries of state in each of these states. A meeting is scheduled on May 31 at DNC headquarters in Washington, D.C. to hear appeals from both states, after which a determination will be made on seating delegates. At this time the issue of popular vote will also be raised. My best guess is that since delegates are apportioned based on voter preference for candidates (through primary or caucus results), the DNC must count the popular vote. As to whether they will depends on how much pressure is put on Howard Dean and members of the Rules Committee.
If you have not yet made your voice heard on Michigan and Florida, please take a moment now to do it.
I could make a wisecrack here about John Edwards' endorsement of Barack Obama with an eye toward getting the blue-collar working class voters to stampede to Barack. But I won't. I don't need to. Exit polls throughout this primary season have told and continue to tell the story. John Edwards managed to eke out only about 7 percent of these voters before he dropped out of the race. Hillary Clinton has been winning them all along, since Iowa.
And with that, here are the latest Kentucky polls:
Research2000: Clinton - 58%; Obama - 31% (with this tidbit):
[In a GE matchup with John McCain]: "McCain leads Obama by 25 percentage points
and Clinton by 12."
"This is a tough state for a Democrat for president," said Del Ali, president of the firm Research 2000, which conducted the surveys. "If Obama's sitting down with (his chief strategist) David Axelrod going over the electoral map in the fall, Kentucky isn't part of the equation. I think with Hillary it could have been."
Rasmussen: Clinton - 56%; Obama - 32%
SurveyUSA: Clinton - 62%; Obama - 28%
RCP Average: Clinton - 58.7; Obama - 30%
In Oregon it's anybody's guess, but RCP Advantage gives Obama a 14-point lead. Voters who have already mailed in their ballots were split 50-50 in their support. I don't have a clue if this "means" anything and I'm not going to predict...
Unless you've been living under a rock the past few days, you probably know about NARAL's endorsement of Barack Obama. I'm not going to provide the link to that story, but I will provide the link to NARAL's "home" site, where you can register your (ahem) comments about this disrespectful act.
Apparently, NARAL heard from so many women after they put up a "webchat" with Nancy Keenan, NARAL's president, that they had to put it in overdrive to keep up with all the comments, most of which were decidedly NOT supportive of their decision.
Turns out, this probably wasn't a smart move. A number of their state affiliates pushed back, issuing their own statements rebuking NARAL for making this decision and for making it without first consulting with its state affiliates.
"NARAL Pro-Choice America affiliates in key swing and primary states are openly distancing themselves from the decision by NARAL Pro-Choice America to endorse Illinois Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for president."
"Since yesterday's announcement, NARAL groups in Pennsylvania, Missouri, Oregon, Washington, Texas and New York -- Clinton's home state -- have issued statements signaling their continued neutrality in the Democratic race and emphasizing that the national group did not speak for them on this matter. These groups represent nearly a quarter of NARAL's state chapters."
Tell me again who are the ones "in touch" with the will of the people...
I found this gem on The Carpetbagger Report. It's not being publicized much (and my little blog probably isn't going to give it much traction), but it's worth noting because it is hypocritical on the part of the Obama campaign, which has said for months that Florida (and Michigan) should not be included in delegate or popular vote counts. (There are all sorts of hypocrisies in that stance, also, but to go into them would take another post). Now, however, since Barack believes he has the nomination "in the bag" Florida delegates count - particularly if they support him.
Speaking of Obama: "A Florida Democratic Party source says that, by their count, at least 8 of the state’s 13 Edwards delegates are switching to Obama, and none to Hillary. The delegates don’t, currently, count, but that could change…."
Finally (I bet you never thought we'd get here), here's our video of the day/week/whatever: