Thursday, February 14, 2008

Washington Post: Clinton Campaign Screwed Up on Caucuses

One of the arguments that Senator Clinton makes about why she should be the nominee is that she is the more experienced candidate. She contends that having been through her husband's administration, she is in a much better position to actually get things done in D.C.

Her team's experience was also supposed to be the reason why she was in a much better position to actually win the nomination. Her campaign staff gave the impression to the national media that her advisors knew how to win the nomination and then win the presidency. Her early domination of fund-raising supported that theme.

There is a saying in prize-fighting that "everyone has a plan until they get hit." That certainly applies to the campaign between Clinton and Obama. Up until they started counting votes in Iowa, it looked as if she couldn't be stopped. Now, it looks like she is in for one tought fight.

According to the Washington Post's blog on campaigns called "The Trail" in an article titled "Clinton's Primary Gift", one reason may be that the Clinton campaign wrote off the caucus states after their experience in Iowa. In Iowa they poured between $20-25 million into the state only to lose. The problem with that decision, though, is that a lot of Democratic delegates, especially in states with smaller populations select their delegates with caucuses.

The result has been that Clinton has lost almost every state that has chosen its delegates with a caucus. This might have been an acceptable trade-off if she was winning every primary state, but she isn't. She has now lost primaries in 12 states and won primaries in 11 states, according to CNN's Election Center.

Two things are happening as a result of her strategy. The first is that she is losing a lot of delegates to Obama and the second is that he is getting a lot of momentum which helps him in the primary states coming up, including Ohio.

Indeed, you could make an argument that she is a great candidate because very few candidates could take 10 straight losses in both primaries and caucuses and still remain viable. If this trend continues, however, that will be scant comfort to her.

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