Jonathan Cohn
Senior Editor

Obama's Best Speech Yet
February 12, 2008

It's been a week or so since I've heard Obama's stump speech, so maybe this is old news.  But -- wow -- he is really going after John McCain.  And he's doing a damn fine job of it. He started by honoring McCain's service, with all apparent sincerity, and then pivoted quickly to this line: "John McCain has the wrong priorities -- because they are bound to the policies of the past." He then promised "a clear choice," tying McCain to the Bush tax cuts and, in particular, the war in Iraq: "John McCain won't be able to say I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the start. Sena

You Had Me At "working Families"
February 12, 2008

Barack Obama is speaking in Madison, Wisconsin. And one of his first lines was a note of gratitude to the state's Democratic governor, Jim Doyle.

It's The Delegates, Stupid
February 12, 2008

Chuck Todd of MSNBC is my hero. As I wrote after last week's contests, at this point the nomination race is all about delegates. States matter a lot less -- even though states are inevitably soaking up most of the media attention. (A lot of that is a function of timing, of course.

Missing Mitt Romney
February 07, 2008

Mitt Romney's decision to withdraw from the Republican presidential campaign will surely please a lot of people -- starting with his rivals, both present and former.  It was no secret that Romney was widely reviled among the candidates.  Romney's willingness to transform his entire political persona, from the moderate technocrat who governed in Massachusetts to the conservative crusader who tried -- without enough success -- to win over the Republican base, really was breathtaking, even by the standards of politicians.  That, combined with his willingness to spend untold sums of his personal w

Hola, Puerto Rico!
February 06, 2008

So now what? Like a lot of people, that was my first thought this morning, as I checked the final results trickling in from Super Tuesday. Looking around the web, I see a lot of smart analyses about how the coming contests will shape up.  (Here's Harold Meyerson.  Here's our own John Judis and Noam Scheiber.) The consensus seems to be that the the next few states are good ones for Barack Obama: In Maryland, Virginia, and then Louisiana, he can count on help from the large African-American populations.

Don't Give Missouri To Clinton Yet
February 06, 2008

I know some of the networks called Missouri for Clinton, but right Obama is winning by 5,000 votes with 98 percent of the precincts reporting.  And according to the MSNBC breakdown, the oustanding returns come from just three counties, two of which are strongly pro-Obama.  (One of them is St. Louis City.) Maybe they know something I don't, but it sure doesn't look like a Clinton win right now. Of course, as I noted earlier, whether Clinton or Obama "won" the state may not affect the ultimate delegate count -- which, don't forget, is what really matters.  --Jonathan Cohn

Clinton: Yes On Stem Cells, No On Republicans
February 05, 2008

Hillary Clinton just mentioned stem cell research in her evening speech.  (I refuse to call it a victory speech, or a concession for that matter, when we know so little about the delegate counts and California remains too close to call.)  And while I'm sure it's not the first time somebody has mentioned stem cells this campaign season, it's the first time I recall hearing it.  I mention this only because it's traditionally been a very good issue for Democrats.  And I'd forgotten all about it until now. On a more general note, Clinton is spending a lot of time in her speech talking about the fa

Why Clinton Won In Massachusetts
February 05, 2008

I lived in Massachsuetts for a long time before moving to Michigan, so it's a state I know well.  And looking at the regional breakdown there, the ethnic and racial divide is not surprising.  But I find it striking all the same. With 70 percent of Boston's precincts reporting, Obama is winning by a modest margin (52 to 46 percent), presumably reflecting the support of his now-familiar coalition of college students, young professionals, and African-Americans.  Among cities where the counting is finished, Obama won in the upscale Boston suburbs of Brookline, Lexington, Wellsley, plus he won easi

What To Think About Massachusetts And New Jersey
February 05, 2008

As Mike notes at the Stump, the Clinton campaign is crowing about their expected win in Massachusetts.  And now that MSNBC has just called New Jersey for Clinton, I assume we'll be hearing about that state, too.  But keep in mind what this is really all about: delegates.  And in close states like Massachusetts and New Jersey, it's entirely possible that Obama will get plenty of delegates -- nearly as many, in fact, as if he had won it.  (In fact, I suppose it's possible he'll win more delegates.) That said, I'm impressed Clinton seems to have held on in both states.  Of course, I'm also impre

Hillary Hatred, Irrational And Here To Stay
February 05, 2008

Following up on my previous item, here's one other note about Jim Cooper, the Democratic congressman from Tennessee who appears prominently in today's David Brooks column. Towards the end of the column, Cooper suggests that Hillary Clinton is acting just as rigidly now as she did back in 1993 and 1994 -- when she spurned his offers of compromise.  Why does he think that?  Apparently, it's because she's made such a big deal about having an individual mandate -- that is, a requirement that everybody purchase insurance.