Pennsylvania Primary: Latest News, Polls On Democratic Race

Pennsylvania Primary: Latest News, Polls On Democratic Race

** UPDATED 4/22 **

EXIT POLLS: Check over here for the latest coverage of Pennsylvania exit polls.

Obama Office Burglarized: An Obama field office in Allentown was broken into this weekend:

Barack Obama's Allentown office was burglarized this week, and multiple laptops and cell phones were stolen, an Obama campaign aide said today. A police spokesman confirmed the incident, but couldn't provide details today because reports are kept in the department's records depository, which is closed weekends.

An Obama aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said "a couple" field laptops were taken out of the office at 1233 Linden St. The computers have demographic information that the campaign uses to target voters. "A couple" cell phones were also taken, the aide said.

When The Going Gets Tough: Hillary Clinton appeared on a Fox affiliate in Philadelphia last night and shared some harsh words for Barack Obama, who had been dismissing the "gotcha" format of this week's debate:

Obama camp has responded:

"Considering the fact that Senator Clinton sat on stage at the last debate and complained to all of America that she always gets the first question, her blatant hypocrisy here is stunning. But if she'd rather spend her time talking about the same distractions and divisions that Washington is obsessed with, that's her business. Barack Obama believes the American people deserve a real debate issues that actually matter like health care, the economy, bringing this war to an end," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Superdelegates Unswayed: What's at stake in the Pennsylvania primary? Less than might be expected:

Dozens of uncommitted superdelegates with sway over the Democratic presidential nomination say Pennsylvania's primary on Tuesday won't be the decisive factor in their choice between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

Instead, they told USA TODAY and Gannett News Service, they will choose by July 1, a deadline suggested by Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean. Superdelegates are party leaders and elected officials with an automatic vote at the national convention.

Paper Endorsement: The Philadelphia Daily News has endorsed Obama, who has been polling strongly in the city of brotherly love. From the endorsement:

This is a campaign that really began six years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001. Not only was the U.S. attacked and seriously wounded, it did not bounce back the way "the land of the free and home of the brave" should have. In fact, it still suffers from post-traumatic stress.

That day and its aftermath cried out for a revolution of values: a clear-eyed shared vision, a cooperative effort, a unified purpose. It cried out for a recognition that conventional warfare and conventional responses to domestic challenges in an era of globalization were not enough.

That cry was not answered.

Attacking Attack Ads: Once again, Barack Obama has launched an ad attacking a Hillary Clinton ad that's attacking him.

Cable Spending: Obama will outspend Clinton 5 to 1 on cable television during the final week of the campaign, according to National Cable Communications:

In Philadelphia alone, Obama spent $1.4 million last week on broadcast networks and cable, while Clinton spent $547,000, according to new figures gathered by National Cable Communications in Washington. In cable spots pre-ordered for the final week of campaigning, Obama has reserved $465,000 worth of ads, while Clinton has reserved $91,000.

Steelers For Obama: Pittsburgh Steelers chairman and owner Dan Rooney has endorsed Barack Obama:

This time, we can't afford to wait. Our country needs a new direction and a new kind of leadership - the kind of leadership, judgment and experience that Senator Obama has demonstrated in more than 20 years of public service, and in a particularly impressive way in this campaign. Senator Obama has rejected the say-and-do anything tactics that puts winning elections ahead of governing the country. And he has rejected the back-room politics in favor of opening government up to the people. Barack Obama is the one candidate in this race who can finally put an end to business as usual in Washington and bring about real change for Pittsburgh and the country as a whole. He has inspired me and so many other people around our country with new ideas and fresh perspectives.

True sports fans know that you support your team even when they are the underdogs. Barack Obama is the underdog here but it is with great pride that I join his team.

Allentown Paper Endorses Obama: The Morning Call has made their choice of candidates this season:

Sen. Clinton has made much of her ''ability to lead'' on day one in the Oval Office. Past experience like hers is one thing, but leadership also depends on having a vision, plans to pursue that vision, and an ability to inspire others to follow. On those grounds, Sen. Barack Obama is well-suited to lead, and The Morning Call recommends his nomination in the Democratic primary.

Obama Outspends: Barack Obama isn't just outspending Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania; he's outspending every politician ever:

Obama is currently spending $2.2 million per week on television here, over twice what Hillary Clinton is spending and an unprecedented ad buy in Pennsylvania, according to Democratic media consultant Neil Oxman, who is not working for a candidate.

"Nobody has ever spent 2.2 million in this state: not Rendell, not Specter, not Casey, not Santorum, not Bush, not Kerry," said Oxman, naming the best-funded candidates to run statewide in recent years. "That's unbelievable."

Here is his latest ad:

Pennsylvania Boasts Record Enrollment: One advantage of a tightly contested race -- more Democrats:

Democratic Party enrollment surged past 4 million mark Monday, setting state record on last day to register to vote for April 22 primary.

Figures show modest declines in ranks of GOP, independents.

Jack Murtha Hits The Trail: Pennsylvania senator and newly declared Hillary supporter Jack Murtha is joining the stump in his home state:

"Let me tell you something," Murtha said, taking the microphone from Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. "I have served with seven presidents, and they all got gray hair except for Reagan. Anybody that's been in the White House for eight years knows how tough it is, understands, has the experience that you need to be president of the United States."

Murtha said he is "convinced that we are in one of the worst situations that I have seen in the 35 years I have been in Congress," but argued that Clinton is "a person that understands the policy" who can restore "our credibility worldwide."

Obama's Popular Vote Strategy: Obama's camp has all but given up on the delegate count coming out of Pennsylvania, but they are hoping to hold the race close in the popular vote:

Obama's campaign has given every indication that he does not expect to win the most delegates when Pennsylvania votes on April 22, due to an overwhelmingly white, working-class electorate that has already given Hillary Clinton a sizable lead in some polls. But Obama's team has put to work an intense registration program designed to achieve a broader strategic goal: limiting the scale of Clinton's win to maintain Obama's national edge in the number of total votes cast in the Democratic primaries.

That contest for total votes, while meaningless in any formal sense, is a key to Clinton's strategy for wooing superdelegates by convincing them that she has the broadest strength among voters.

"In this state right now, his game is about bringing the popular-vote differential down," said Ken Smukler, a Pennsylvania Democratic strategist unaligned with either candidate. "Since Super Tuesday, this game has never been just about pledged delegates."

Clinton Widens Lead: The hill for the Obama camp is getting steeper, as seen in two polls:

The momentum in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary battle has shifted back to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who now leads Illinois Sen. Barack Obama 53 - 41 percent among likely primary voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 49 - 43 percent Sen. Clinton lead in a February 27 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University. In that survey, the momentum was with Sen. Obama who had narrowed a 52 - 36 percent gap from a February 14 poll.

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Pennsylvania shows Hillary Clinton expanding her lead to 26 points, 56% to 30%, after a very bad news week for Sen. Barack Obama's campaign.

Key findings: "Some of the lead is attributable to Clinton racking up large leads in her key demographics, such as a 66-20 advantage with female voters. But she's holding Obama down with his key groups. He is only at 63% with black voters in the poll, a percentage much smaller than what he has been getting in most states."

Does Pennsylvania Really Matter? Larry Eichel of the Philadelphia Inquirer doesn't seem to think so:

Analysts also have noticed that there will be more delegates at stake on May 6 when North Carolina and Indiana vote, 187, than the 158 available in Pennsylvania. Florida and Michigan account for 313....

Perhaps the only way that Pennsylvania could prove decisive would be if Obama were to win the primary, which seems unlikely right now.

Such an outcome would undercut Clinton's oft-made argument that she is the preferred choice of the big states that dominate the Electoral College. For that reason, an Obama win would have a huge impact on the undeclared superdelegates, who hold the nomination in their hands.

Obama Not Giving Up Pennsylvania: Reports from Obama donors say he's suggested that a ten-point loss would still be a victory, but publicly he hasn't given up on the state yet:

David Axelrod, Obama's chief political strategist, told reporters on a conference call this morning that the campaign would go all out to win the Keystone State. "We are gong to contest vigorously in Pennsylvania," he said. "We're going to be running a full campaign."

Obama heads tomorrow to Monaca, Pa., west of Pittsburgh, and then to Scranton, where he will address an Irish women's group. Both are located in the heart of Clinton territory. The state's older, blue-collar voter base skews against Obama, but another problem is Pennsylvania's relatively strict participation rules. Primary voters must register as Democrats as of March 24, nearly a full month before election day. Obama is running radio ads in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia to urge students, independents and Republicans -- three key constituencies to keep the race close -- to register as Democrats before the deadline.

Obama Expands The Voter Rolls: The biggest challenge for Barack Obama may come as early as March 24th. That's the date by which voters must file to change their registration in order to vote in the April 22nd primary. Since Pennsylvania is a closed primary, Obama is hoping to get as many independents and Republicans as possible to switch their registration:

In the days after the March 24 voter registration deadline, state election officials will release figures that measure the almost singular focus of Obama's field operation until then: political conversions.

Obama is attempting to crack open Pennsylvania's closed party primary, initiating a program to flip the registrations of independent and Republican voters to Democrat.

The Pennsylvania strategy is aimed at giving Obama a head start by expanding the rolls by tens of thousands of voters ahead of the April 22 election. The final tabulations from the Department of State could offer the first tangible indications of whether Obama can catch Clinton in a state where she holds the advantage.

Obama: Coming Within 10 Would Be A Victory: Greg Sargent gets word from a recent fundraiser call:

On a call with some of his major California donors yesterday, Barack Obama acknowledged that Pennsylvania will be a steep uphill battle, and said that his aim is to get within 10 points of Hillary there, something that he said would be a "victory" for him, according to a donor on the call.

"He said that Pennsylvania is tough for them and that the demographics really are not the best for them," the donor tells me, adding that Obama was speaking to the group of 40-odd contributors via conference call.

"He said his goal is to finish within 10 points, and that that would be a victory for them. He said he'll be making a big effort there, but that she should win it and that the goal is to finish within 10."

Gov. Rendell: Obama Would Beat McCain In Pennsylvania: The Obama campaign fires out this quote from Clinton-backing Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell:

"And interestingly, I think Senator Obama, if he's the candidate, will run okay in some of those counties. There's no question. Hillary Clinton is a better fit for those counties. Is a better fit for southwest Pennsylvania. But I think either one of them is going to carry the state in the fall."


Clinton Endorsed By Pittsburgh Mayor: A big regional endorsement lands for Hillary:

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and Pitttsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, two major Western Pennsylvania politicos who had yet to endorse, will come out for Hillary Clinton tomorrow, a campaign source confirms.

Clinton Camp: Obama Abandoning Pennsylvania: The Clinton camp is spinning Obama's memo lowering expectations as a complete white flag, and suggesting that he is thereby giving up in a general election:

The Clinton campaign chastised Barack Obama this morning for what they said is his shunning of Pennsylvania, a state that the campaign argues a Democratic candidate needs to carry to win the general election.

On the call, according to Howard Wolfson, were a "great lineup of guests," including Governor Ed Rendell, who talked about "the Obama campaign's attempt to diminish the importance of the state" and Mayor Michael Nutter, who said he would "fire" a staffer who wrote a memo lowering expectations in Pennsylvania.

Obama And Hillary Even Against McCain In Pennsylvania: Numerous polls taken in Pennsylvania show very similar numbers for the two Democrats in terms of a general election content with McCain, says Talking Points Memo. Nonetheless, the Clinton camp has been pressing the argument that Clinton's advantage over Obama in Pennsylvania proves he's the weaker general election candidate. From TPM:

Hillary does fare slightly better against McCain in several more polls, but the differences overall seem statistically minor at best, and certainly don't justify Penn's claims. More to the point, Hillary and Obama both beat McCain in the same number of polls -- three each.

Separately, the averages put McCain ahead of Hillary by 45.2%-44.2%, and ahead of Obama 44.2%-41.9% -- a McCain lead of 1.0% versus 2.3%. This, too, is a statistically insignificant difference.

Bottom line: The general election match-ups suggest that it's a huge stretch to make a Hillary-is-more-electable argument for Pennsylvania based simply on Democratic primary numbers.

Poll: Hillary Lead Holds, Obama Does Better In General: There's an interesting twist in the latest Strategic Vision poll. Sen. Clinton maintains her dominant lead against Sen. Obama, but Sen. Obama does better in a matchup against John McCain than does Hillary (though McCain beats both Democrats):

Hillary Clinton: 56%
Barack Obama: 38%

John McCain: 48%
Hillary Clinton: 42%

John McCain: 47%
Barack Obama: 44%

Obama Camp Downplays: The Obama camp is trying to avoid letting Pennsylvania become the focal point of the next six weeks. From their latest memo:

Now that Mississippi is behind us, we move on to the next ten contests. The Clinton Campaign would like to focus your attention only on Pennsylvania - a state in which they have already declared that they are "unbeatable." But Pennsylvania is only one of 10 remaining contests, each important in terms of allocating delegates and ultimately deciding who are nominee will be. Senator Obama campaigned in Pennsylvania yesterday and will do so again later this week, but he will also campaign aggressively in the other upcoming states - he will travel to other upcoming states in the very near future.

Clinton's New Grass Roots Strategy: Stung by the criticisms of how they ran in Iowa, the Clinton camp is revamping it's Pennsylvania strategy to be cheaper, more personal, and more grass roots:

Campaign staffers say that in Pennsylvania Sen. Clinton will rely more heavily on volunteers and a more frugal, homegrown effort. "I wasn't around for Iowa, but I think people in Pennsylvania want a more personal approach," says state campaign spokesman Mark Nevins, who joined the staff two weeks ago.

Sen. Clinton is expected to host more interactive roundtable events to talk to voters about the economy -- an approach that paid off in Ohio, where people have similar economic concerns.

In Iowa the campaign flooded the airwaves with statewide television ads. Given the size and diversity of Pennsylvania, the campaign could mostly rely on targeted ads in cheaper, local markets, particularly in smaller rural areas where Sen. Clinton is popular, aides say.

Bill Clinton: On PA Like A "Wet Blanket": Bill Clinton is staking out in Pennsylvania for the next six weeks:

At President Bill Clinton's second campaign stop today he described his wife as the "best-qualified" candidate and "the strongest leader." He asked for the crowd's support and said-as he did in Texas and Ohio-if they vote for her she will go on to win later primaries and the nomination will be hers:

"If she wins a big, big victory in Pennsylvania, I think it'll give her a real big boost going into the next primaries. We're gonna have primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota and Puerto Rico," Clinton said, "But I think just as I felt she had to win in Texas and Ohio -- and she did, and won handily- I think she's got to win a big victory in Pennsylvania. I think if she does, she can be nominated, but it's up to you, and I want to ask you to all vote for her and support her and ask your friends to."...

"I'm going to Erie tonight, and I'm going to wind up in the Philadelphia area tomorrow. And Hillary was over there today; she started in Scranton where her father's family was from, so she was doing a family tour yesterday. But Hillary, Chelsea and I expect to cover Pennsylvania like a wet blanket between now and April 22nd asking for support from people."

SurveyUSA Poll: Hillary With Big Lead: The primary is still several weeks away, but Sen. Obama has a big hill to climb according to SurveyUSA:

Hillary Clinton: 55%
Barack Obama: 36%

Hillary Busts A Move: Sen. Clinton found herself stuck in the middle of a choir singing her praises in Scranton today. She made the best of it and rocked out:

And here's the code if you want it:

ARG Poll: Clinton Up 11 Points: "A new American Research Group poll in Pennsylvania shows Sen. Hillary Clinton leading Sen. Barack Obama, 52% to 41%."

Key findings: Obama leads among men 59% to 38% and Clinton leads among women 63% to 27%. Clinton leads among white voters 63% to 29% and Obama leads among African American voters 89% to 7%. African Americans account for 18% of likely Democratic primary voters. Clinton leads 47% to 45% among likely primary voters under 50 and she leads 58% to 37% among likely primary voters 50 and older.

** UPDATED 3/9 **

Obama May Have Lost Philly Mayor's Nod By Endorsing Challenger: The Washington Post reports on the sudden importance of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter:

On paper, Michael Nutter and Sen. Barack Obama have much in common.

African American, 50 years old and elected last year as mayor of Philadelphia on a reform platform, Nutter has in many ways experienced a political rise similar to that of the Illinois Democrat vying for his party's presidential nomination.

But presidential elections aren't fought on paper, and Nutter isn't a supporter of Obama's. Instead, he has endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and insisted in an interview late last week with The Fix that she is well positioned to clean up in both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania in general when the Democratic race makes its way there on April 22.

"There's the regular season, and then there's the playoffs," Nutter said of the nomination fight. "We're now in the playoffs." Extending the football metaphor, Nutter compared Obama to the New England Patriots, who were undefeated during the regular season and the playoffs, and Clinton to the New York Giants, who ended that winning streak in the Super Bowl.

Like so many politicians who cut their teeth in the 1990s, Nutter has a long history with the Clintons. In the early part of that decade, Nutter became involved in the Democratic Leadership Council, whose leading voice was then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton. During Clinton's 1992 presidential bid, Nutter served as a pledged delegate for, in his words, "an unknown governor of the poorest state in America." (Left unsaid in the interview was that in Nutter's 2007 mayoral bid, Obama endorsed Rep. Chaka Fattah, who wound up finishing fourth.)

Despite that history, Nutter said he weighed his options carefully before deciding to endorse either candidate. He spoke with Obama and Clinton several times, knowing that he wanted to make an endorsement. ("You are either on the field or on the sidelines," Nutter said. "I am an on-the-field guy.") In the end, he went with Clinton because "I thought she had the best ideas [and a] tremendous track record."

Clinton's State To Lose: The Pittsburg Post-Gazette says the state is demographically very strong for Clinton, and the Philly Enquirer traces her long family roots in Pennsylvania.

Harrisburg Mayor To Endorse Clinton: "Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed plans to endorse U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton for president when the senator from New York visits Harrisburg for a public rally scheduled for noon Tuesday. Reed joins the mayors from Philadelphia and Scranton in supporting Clinton, who will visit Scranton, the hometown of her father, on Monday evening. She'll also be in Philadelphia later Tuesday for a rally on the campus of Temple University."

** UPDATE 3/8 **

The Campaign Scramble Gets Under Way: covers Bill Clinton's arrival in the state.

The activity surrounding the April 22 Pennsylvania primary picked up yesterday as former President Bill Clinton made two stops in the Philadelphia area on his wife's behalf.

First, he met privately in Center City with Democratic ward leaders, who chose not to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama, at least until they can meet with both candidates.

Then he traveled to Delaware County to speak publicly to about 1,500 people in the gymnasium on Pennsylvania State University's Brandywine campus.

Mixed-Economic Profile In Pennsylvania:The New York Times takes a look at the state of the economy in Pennsylvania to see how it compares to Ohio, a state in which the economy proved a decisive issue in its recent primary.

Pennsylvania is in better economic shape than Ohio. Over the last two or three decades, much of this state has successfully made the transition to what officials call a knowledge-based economy. There are now more jobs here in education and health care than in industrial manufacturing. And analysts here said the candidates would have to tailor their economic messages to the state's many distinct economies, which are in various stages of recovery.

While the state's jobless rate has edged up over the last year, from 4.3 percent in January 2007 to 4.8 percent now, it has been below the national average for 13 months in a row. And while western Pennsylvania shares a border with eastern Ohio and shares some of that region's economic woes, officials here say that Pennsylvania as a whole is more prosperous and diverse than its neighbor.[...]

As of December 2007, Pennsylvania ranked 25th in unemployment, while Ohio's unemployment rate of 6 percent pushed it down to 45th. And in terms of home foreclosures, Pennsylvania has done better than most states, ranking 37th in January.

Poll: Clinton Bounces To 15-Point Lead: Rasmussen Reports: "In Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton has opened a fifteen percentage point lead over Barack Obama. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows Clinton attracting 52% of the vote while Obama earns 37%."

In late February, before Clinton's comeback victories in Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island, the former First Lady's lead in the Keystone State was just four percentage points. The big difference between that poll and the current result is found a among men. Clinton now leads by seventeen percentage points among women and eleven among men. In the previous survey, she was ahead by fifteen points among women but trails by fourteen among men.

For Obama, An Uphill Battle: The Washington Post's Dan Balz writes about Pennsylvania's demographics, which are even worse for Obama than Ohio:

Everything that worked for Hillary Clinton in Ohio is there in Pennsylvania in greater numbers. The Post ran a chart in Thursday's editions comparing the Democratic electorates in the two states. Obama's campaign should tape it on every office wall in their North Michigan Avenue headquarters in Chicago as a reminder of the steep hill they have to climb.

Look at some of the comparisons: The black-white mix is roughly similar, meaning Obama will not have a significantly larger African American population to tap. The male-female mix is also roughly similar, with women accounting for nearly 60 percent of the electorate, meaning Clinton will have her solid base upon which to build.

But look, too, at some differences. There are fewer young people and more old people in Pennsylvania than in Ohio, which is good for Clinton and bad for Obama. In Ohio, 44 percent of the Democratic electorate was under age 45 and Obama carried them by 54 percent to 45 percent. In Pennsylvania those voters may represent only a quarter of the electorate. In Ohio, voters over age 65 comprised 14 percent of the electorate and Clinton carried them 72 percent to 26 percent. In Pennsylvania, they may account for a quarter of the Democratic vote.

Clinton Supporter Armed And Dangerous: Politico profiles Clinton's top Pennsylvania backer Gov. Ed Rendell: "New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell make an odd pair. Clinton is the model of message discipline, a politician whose steely demeanor and unerring ways cause voters to question her authenticity. Rendell, a strong Clinton supporter, is the exact opposite -- a loose-lipped, gregarious backslapper whose gaffe-prone ways only underscore his genuineness."

Clinton Camp Preparing Nomination Endgame: The New York Times reports:

[Clinton] believes that a strong showing in Pennsylvania, which has 188 delegates at stake, could set up a powerful one-two punch two weeks later in the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, which have a combined 218 delegates. Her team believes she has an especially good shot at winning Indiana, where the state's influential Democratic senator, Evan Bayh, a former two-term governor, was one of Mrs. Clinton's earliest supporters.[...]

In the short term, the campaign announced today that it was dispatching former President Bill Clinton tomorrow to Wyoming -- which holds Democratic caucuses on Saturday -- and on Friday to Mississippi, which holds presidential primaries next Tuesday. Mrs. Clinton's upcoming travel plans are still under wraps.

Clinton Backer Reached Out To Farrakhan (2/28): Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) once made a concerted effort to reach out to Rev. Lousi Farrakhan:

Then the mayor of Philadelphia, Rendell not only made a controversial decision to share the stage with Farrakhan in an effort to diffuse racial tensions in the city, but then praised the NOI for its emphasis on family values and self-sufficiency (this, after ripping what he described as "so-called Jewish leaders" for criticizing the decision to give Farrakhan a platform).

Poll: Obama Surging (2/27): Sen. Barack Obama, surging among younger voters, has cut Sen. Hillary Clinton's lead among Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters to 6 points, 49% to 43%, after trailing by 16 points just two weeks ago, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Said pollster Clay Richards: "Sen. Obama is closing in fast on Sen. Clinton in Pennsylvania, but it will probably be the voters in Ohio and Texas who decide what role the Keystone primary will play in the 2008 presidential election. If Sen. Clinton survives next week to fight another day, Pennsylvania could become the last battleground of the long Democratic contest. But an Obama win in Texas and Ohio would make it difficult for Clinton to halt her rival's momentum."

Clinton Lead Narrows (2/21): Hillary's lead in Pennsylvania has narrowed from the previous poll. However, she still holds a 12-point margin, down from 20:

Hillary Clinton: 44
Barack Obama: 32

Philadelphia Superdelegate Endorses Obama (2/19): Barack Obama has picked up his third Pennsylvania superdelegate endorsement, following a phone call from Michelle Obama:

Former Philadelphia city councilwoman Carol Ann Campbell says she made up her mind Saturday after a telephone call from the Illinois senator's wife, Michelle.

Campbell says they talked for nearly 90 minutes , about the problems of the handicapped, children being raised by their grandparents and the importance of religion in their lives. Campbell, who's previously said she was undecided, says she's comfortable with what she heard and decided on the spot to support Obama over New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton Fails To Produce Full Delegate Slate (2/19): Hillary Clinton did not submit supporters for about 10 delegate spots in Pennsylvania. Although this the submission will not hinder her in the actual race, it is not an encouraging symbol:

Clinton's faux pas is more of an image problem than a practical one. Under Democratic Party rules (and does any organization on the planet have more rules or more complex rules?) a presidential candidate winning in a congressional district gets delegates from that district (assigned at a later date) whether he or she files slates delegates or not.

Still. For a national campaign stressing competence, experience, "ready day one," one might expect a full slate in what could be a key state.

Swing state matchups: The latest Rasmussen poll has Obama leading John McCain in Pennsylvania, but McCain leading Hillary Clinton by a slight margin.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows Obama attracting 49% of the vote while McCain earns 39%. However, in a McCain-Clinton match-up, the Arizona Senator has a statistically insignificant two-point lead, 44% to 42%.

Clinton, Obama Ramp Up Local Offices: Obama's Pennsylvania ground teams will kickoff their push this week, while Clinton supporters are waiting until closer to March 4th.

Volunteer efforts for both Obama and Clinton in the Lehigh Valley area have been under way for weeks, but will get a boost Monday when Obama's area volunteers hold a kickoff event at Mezza Luna Sports Bar & Grill in Allentown....

...Clinton's supporters don't yet have any area public events planned. Rob Hopkins, who is working on Clinton's local volunteer operation, said a group of about a dozen supporters have met informally in recent weeks and the effort will ramp up more publicly after March 4, when Texas and Ohio hold contests.

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