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Monday, March 24, 2008

Blog Readers Weigh In On Bill's Big Move; Obama Backing Praised & Scorned, Plus: Freebies At Dem Convention; Harmless Handouts Or Vote-Buying? 

Bill & Hill-Happier Times
The political buzz over Big Bill's Friday embrace of Barack Obama continued through the Easter weekend. The Guv, appearing on Fox News Sunday, fended off charges from Clinton loyalist James Carville that he was a "Judas" for endorsing Obama after being friends for so long with the Clintons. "Well, I'm not going to get in the gutter like that," Richardson said. "And you know, that's typical of many of the people around Sen. Clinton. They think they have a sense of entitlement to the presidency."

Meanwhile, the savvy readers of your blog had plenty of interest to say, so let's go the videotape.

CHUCK WELLBORN

I have to admire his instincts. I was sure he had waited too long to get much benefit from endorsing but just when Obama would be most grateful for a boost, here comes Bill.

ANONYMOUS

Bill is always thinking ahead. The Clinton's are of the past and his
statement that his choice reflects his recognition that it is time for a new
generation of leadership encompasses self interest and his forward looking

AMBASSADOR JAMES SWEENY (RET), FORMER SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PRESIDENT FOR ARMS CONTROL

Joe, I worked for President Clinton and was disappointed, but not surprised by Richardson's announcement to endorse Obama. President Clinton took Richardson and enhanced his political career by appointing him as the UN Ambassador and later Secretary of Energy, and his thanks to the Clinton's is a huge snub at a time when they needed his support. My experience with Big Bill...is that he will do what is best for him and loyalty be dammed. As most insiders know he has a huge ego and has ambitions of holding a key position in a future Democratic Administration. I can only assume that he made a deal with Obama in exchange for his support. This is typical of the way Bill operates, since it is all about ME.

DEM CAMPAIGN OPERATIVE

Bill is thinking about secretary of state, and he has a better shot with Obama than with Hillary. I do think he will move super delegates, given his long time relationship with the Clinton’s and the loyalty he should have to them, but you are right, I do not see him moving many voters in Pennsylvania...

HELEN LAURA LOPEZ

How Exciting !! for us Obama supporters. Your Saturday post was a fun read...your description of the development of the story. This is your year man! I hope you already have your room reserved in Denver. My money is now on Bill being Secretary of State, his second tier dream job.

SENIOR ALLIGATOR

Clearly, the Clinton's are bullying supporters to stay in line. I have heard several people complain about the pressure and one can see it in the Clinton brand of politics. Bullies don't appreciate other bullies. The Clinton's brand of "anything to win" is turning off independents and some of their base. They are not bringing new people into the fold and turning off potential supporters. They have even turned off bloggers like the Daily Kos by either threatening or actually pulling their support. They don't understand that people have a legitimate option and that one attracts more with sweet than sour. Bill understands the diminished support base the Clinton's offer him.

ABQ VALLEY ALLIGATOR

Did I not tell you that superdelegates had all the loyalty of an alley cat! Billy cut a deal where he thought he could get the best deal and finally get outta here! Billy has always been for numbah one.

DEM SUPERDELEGATE & ABQ MAYOR CHAVEZ IN NEWSPAPER

"I don't think the governor takes anyone with him on this," Chávez said. " I think the governor takes himself. I think what's going on here is Bill is taking care of Bill. This is all about Bill."

NM DEM PARTY CHAIR AND SUPEREDELEGATE BRIAN COLON ON WHETHER HE WILL FOLLOW RICHARDSON TO OBAMA

Still uncommitted my friend.

BLOGGIN' FOR THE BBC

The US presidential race and Big Bill's Obama endorsement is fascinating to even those watching from abroad. Our phone rang late Friday and it was London calling. We did a pleasant round of analysis with that citadel of broadcast civility--the BBC. You can listen by clicking here.

FREEBIES OR VOTE BUYING?


There was an uproar of sorts recently when it was learned that the campaign of ABQ US Rep. and GOP US senate candidate Heather Wilson had paid the $30 registration fee for a handful of delegates to attend the Bernalillo County GOP pre-primary convention. However, we've heard little about similar activity at the recent NM statewide Democrat pre-primary convention, even though freebies were handed out there to keep delegates pampered. The Rio Grande Sun reports:

(Democratic congressional candidate Ben) Lujan's staff swarmed the Santa Ana Star Center with ear pieces and walkie-talkies and handed out food coupons for pizza and hotdogs to delegates who voted for him. (Dem candidate Don) Wiviott's staff also took measures to ensure Wiviott's delegates were well looked after. San Juan County delegate Ivan William Pfeifer had arrived the day before the event and stayed the night at a Holiday Inn Express in Bernalillo, care of Wiviott's campaign.

"We were very much surprised it was even offered," said Pfeifer, who donned a blue Wiviott shirt at the convention.

Wiviott's spokeswoman, said the campaign provided rooms for about 20 delegates. Two-hundred delegates voted for Wiviott, who has used his own money to build a war chest worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Nothing in campaign finance law explicitly prohibits candidates from providing lodging for delegates, and the Secretary of State’s Office deferred any questions on the matter to the Attorney General’s office.

“We have a similar situation regarding the paying of registration fees at the (Republican Convention),” Secretary of State spokesman James Flores said.


Ben Ray pushing food coupons is a gimmick as old as the hills. Don's buying of hotel rooms is a bit more upscale than past freebies, but neither of these candidates hid their intentions. If either Republicans or Democrats are directly paying delegates cash to show up and vote for them, that would be a different story.

We are in a new era and the political parties would probably do themselves a favor by passing hard and fast rules on what a candidate can and can't spend money for at these conventions. Maybe then everyone will want to pursue the most undercovered story in politics--the vast amount of campaign contributions going to candidates and whether it directly impacts votes on legislation.

E-mail your news, comments and criticisms.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2008
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