Hillary: Florida "Played By The Rules"
Talking Points Memo has the best of it: three reports from two Dem campaigns of campaigning in Florida:
Over on the Republican side, which counts, Rudy is looking like toast down at 15%.
ROTFL Obama press release:
Obama and Clinton tie for delegates in Florida.
0 for Obama,
0 for Clinton.
Howard Fineman launches an AHnold for Obama rumor and calls defeated NJ Senate candidate Tom Kean Jr. "governor of New Jersey" which might be a surprise to Jon Corzine.
Rudy's up to 16% but they aren't even showing Huckabee on the first screen... the Ron Paul REVOLution is down at 3 percent. This is turning into a living room liveblog.
Now will have a stage full of Hillary and the Florida rulebreakers. Chris Matthews is repeating "this doesn't count" over and over. "The Clinton people keep saying 'all that matters is delegates,' and there aren't any delegates." Olbermann: "everybody just happened to have those signs at home." They're seeing Clinton chutzpah. I'm seeing a giant middle finger aimed at Iowa. She's hoveing just under 50%.
In case you didn't figure it out from Saturday, MSNBC is my network of choice. Olbermann is the decisive factor, and I just can't hate Matthews as much as most lefties do. Andrea Mitchell: "This is a celebration of the fact that this is not South Carolina." No one is even questioning: "There are no delegates." Mitchell is also saying they have Bill on a shorter leash now.
Hillary speaks. "I will make sure I will do everything I can to make sure Florida's delegates are seated." That'll be the sound bite. (Update: yes, it is) Another middle finger to Iowa. For all they're criticizing it, MSNBC is sure sticking with the speech long enough, and she's milking it for all its worth and getting the Basic Stump Speech all up front. As if in response, the vote counter ticks up from 49 to 51.
But after five or so minutes, Olbermann sees it for what it is and cuts away to Joe Scarborough talking about the GOP race. McCain looks to be pulling ahead but they're saying too close to call. Huckabee comes out and says something but I miss it for a phone call. Hard to call a 4th place 13% a win of an sort. I guess what he said is, he stays in. Is he Gary Bauer with a bass?
Olbermann won't even say Hillary "won," he says "got more votes than anyone else." But swiftly they move to the Rudy endorsing McCain? story. That would definitely be the big story tomorrow and would completely bury Hillary's pep rally. Brokaw thinks Huckabee's got some life in him yet, at least as a horse trader, but Olbermann and Matthews think he's running for VP with McCain.
Heeeres Rooody. He riffs on Ron Paul's folks spamming the polls. This was sounding valedictory, but now he's merging into the 12 Commitments stump speech. "Less lawsuits" is the big applause line. They're not saying ROO-dy, they're booing you. "We conducted our campaign..." using past tense. Calls for a 50 state strategy for the GOop.
Mitt steps on him, a split screen moment. They go with Mitt, though whatever Rudy has to say is probably more relevant and interesting. Rudy was the GOP candidate who truly scared me, but you gotta admit, he's interesting. Girlfriends all over the place, John Gotti wanted to whack him, megalomaniacial tendencies... way more interesting than Mitt the Plastic Man, who is trying to get a "they haven't" call and response going. But the crowd is half a beat behind the rhythm. Biggest applause line so far is "Hillarycare."
One thing about Florida is that, with no one dominant city but rather multiple centers of population, the candidates are all over. Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, and I thnk Huckabee was already in Missouri. Olbermann said Rudy finished up with a very past tense speech, but never said the "withdraw" word. The scenario is he flies to California tomorrow and endorses McCain before the debate tomorrow night.
8:45 and no one's mentioned the Democratic side in about an hour. Here comes McCain. He leads with the "all Republican primary" -- no McCain friendly crossovers here. Gets nterrupted with big applause at "while I was away" referencing his POW years. He offers so many local official shoutouts that I expect to start hearing the names of dogcatchers.
Offers lengthy, extensive, detailed praise to Huckabee and Rudy, with a passing mention of Mitt. AND HE TOTALLY IGNORES RON PAUL WHICH MEANS HE'S PART OF THE ANTI RON PAUL CONSPIRACY!!! shouts the three percent.
Which reminds me of the Three Percent Rule we used to have on the `92 campaign: Three percent of all people are nuts and don't let them take more than three precent of your time.
It's official: Rudy will endore McCain Tomorrow. Huckabee, of course, does McCain more good IN the race, splitting votes away from Mitt.
I think tonight is when the GOP has decided. Was it only October I wrote the headline "Sun Setting On The Straight Talk Express"? Matthews: "This is going to be everybody against Romney from here on out."
The pundits are loving, loving, loving the Rudy drama, and Hillary's choreography is long forgotten. Good news for Obama. Now for the first time in 90 minutes they discuss the Dems, Hillary is coming on soon. Russert stays with the party line: "There are No. Delegates." Olbermann sticks with "received more votes" not "won."
Here's Hillary with Olbermann, she laughs at "received more votes." HRC: "their votes are going to count" and says "victory." Repeats seat the delegates. Olbermann: is that changing the rules mid-game? HRC: No, because we didn't campaign, brings up the Michigan uncommitted. Saying "victory" as often as possible. Florida "played by the rules, and we played by the rules."
Florida played by the rules??!? Huh?
Matthews moves on to Ted Kennedy, Bill, etc. She answers with the bullet points and previous statements. She's getting a freebie here, getting the exposure (even from me as I blog it) -- at least Olbermann made her squirm a little. Matthews throws up a softball: what sets you apart from the other two Dems and she plays Experience and the talking points again.
Back to Olbermann: he's reading an Obama statement:
When Senator Clinton was campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, she made it clear that states like Michigan and Florida that wouldn’t produce any delegates, ‘don’t count for anything.’ Now that Senator Clinton’s worried about losing the first Southern primary, she’s using Florida for her own political gain by trying to assign meaning to a contest that awards zero delegates and where no campaigning has occurred.
She laughs The Laugh. Olbermann: "Apart from the laughter what's your reaction." She offers multiple variations on "every vote counts," Florida in the general, etc. "We all agreed not to campaign, but I'm very proud that I won." Olbermann reads her vote total at the end but still refuses to say "won."
In all the discussion of delegates don't count, very little explanation of why.