Democrats make final push in Indiana, North Carolina

On the eve prior to the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, both Obama and Clinton have been in overdrive today trying to drive home victories Tuesday, May 6th when the primaries take place.

First, a video report on North Carolina from the Associated Press:

A report on Indiana from USAToday:

INDIANAPOLIS — As he sank a basket in a pickup hoops game on Sunday, Sen. Barack Obama told the crowd, “I’m a pressure player.”

That would be handy, because the pressure is on in Indiana, where polls show Tuesday’s Democratic presidential primary to be a virtual tossup between Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In the final days of the primary campaign here, the two are battling on how to cut gas prices and, in doing so, fighting over who is a truer champion of the middle class.

“Politics didn’t lead me to working people — working people led me to politics,” Obama said Sunday at a dinner thrown by the state Democratic Party.

Clinton wants to suspend the gas tax for three months and make up the revenue with a windfall profits tax on oil companies. Obama opposes a gas-tax holiday, saying it would save drivers only $28 and that quickly passing a profits tax is unrealistic.

He called the proposal typical of “empty gestures calculated to get politicians through the next election.”

Clinton, at the same event, said, “When I say solutions, I mean immediate action. … We can’t just plan for the future, we have to help people in the here and now.”

Here’s a little report from our friends across the pond, Sky News in the UK:

Finally, both candidates spoke with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer yesterday evening:

Obama:

Clinton:

As for my always entertaining, rarely correct prediction, it looks like Tuesday’s going to be a split with Obama possibly taking North Carolina and Clinton perhaps taking Indiana. However, the polls have been very volatile in the past few weeks and even days so things could have changed

The charts have shown Clinton gaining in North Carolina but not to the extent that it’s cause for celebration. Indiana recently flipped in the polls as Obama led for a short time and it’s now back to Clinton.

  • Whobody

    The gas tax holiday thing kills me. It is economically irresponsible and completely stubborn to say I’m not going to listen to economists’ suggestions. To disregard the future effects of anything economical seems unintelligent.

    Also, I thought I remembered Clinton saying early on in the campaign process that a windfall profits tax on oil companies was going to be used for renewable energy research. Now, it’s going to help us consume more gas? What happened to the enviro-friendly Hillary?

  • Babs

    Whobody, I think a lot of the things the government does are irresponsible, it’s just that this time they want to give me a break instead of themselves. Our roads are full of potholes anyway, give me a holiday. *L*

  • Michel

    I guess there’s no one blinder than the one who doesn’t want to see at all.

  • Babs

    Nice cliche, Michel, not very original, but nice.

  • Joyce

    Whobody…tax relief on gas prices is to HELP the hardworking people that need to get to work, or so truckers can continue to work. It’s a temporary deal…3 months…not Hillary’s long range plans to fix the problem. The roads will still get fixed!

  • Whobody

    And that’s what they want, Babs… they want us to say, “Yeah, maybe there’s not alot of planning or foresight going into this, and it might just be economically irresponsible, but it’s for ME.”

    Joyce – Are you saying this won’t hurt the highway fund these taxes go to?

    I know you say it’s not long range, but what if the increase in demand pushes prices to where when we normally see a drop in price at the end of summer, instead we see higher, sustained prices? Can HC give me reason to believe this won’t happen?

    I’m all for helping the working class, but does the action out-weigh the effect? I want to know that help now won’t hurt truckers and hardworking people (including me and you) in the near future.

    I want to believe this will help, but where is the proof it will?

    And which roads get fixed when money is tight? The first ones on the list aren’t usually the ones the hardworking truckers and middle- to low-income live on.

  • Michel

    Joyce,

    If this action increases the gas demand and the oil price keeps rising, we need to look for some way of economic relief that come down from the sky. Obama has stressed this, and we need to focus our atention in healthy alternative fuel, nuclear power and investments in oil search here in our territory to depend less on foreign oil.

    Gas tax won’t do anything on the long rn when oil prices keep rising. And the economic impact of it will most likely be a fall on the employment rates. What about that? How’s that going to help the truckers?

    It’s irresponsible, but good for her on the long run. And rgarding McCain support for the idea…. so much for his “straight talk”.

  • Michel

    Tkae a look at this analysis from cbs. The irony of political campaigns is amazing.

    “Analysis: Alice-In-Wonderland Politics

    In the Alice-In-Wonderland world that has become presidential politics lately, it has come to this: Hillary Clinton, who has resided in a chauffeur-driven bubble for the past 20 years, is portraying herself as a man of the people. Barack Obama, raised by a single mother and who paid off his college loans just a few years ago, is the elite snob. And John McCain, married to a beer heiress, charges that Obama is “insensitive to the hopes and dreams and ambitions” of millions of Americans.

    Forget Iraq, at least for now. The campaign zeitgeist these days is all about oozing empathy for the little guy. It’s enough to make Clinton down shots of Crown Royal or gas up a car while Obama goes bowling and fondly recalls the Jell-O molds of his youth. And why not display a little compassion? Voters are worried about losing their homes and their jobs while paying more for fuel and food. So the politicians, ever the lagging indicators, are full of proposals geared to soothe the weary and placate the anxious. They have been born again–as populists.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with helping Americans in troubled times. Kudos to President Bush and Congress, for instance, for quickly passing an economic stimulus plan. And Team McCain gets an A in creative populist pander for its summer-gas-tax-holiday proposal. But whatever happened to straight talk about its cost ($10 billion from the already strapped federal highway fund) and what it would really save ($40 per car)? Not to be outdone, Clinton pounced on the plan, one-upping McCain by saying she would pay for it all with a tax on the bad guys–the oil companies. Such perfect populist symmetry. Only Obama and the president resisted the gimmick, Bush by refusing to comment (and thereby not kick McCain) and Obama by stating the obvious: While it all sounds good, it will save little and do nothing about the bigger problems of oil consumption and imports. “This isn’t an idea designed to get you through the summer,” Obama argued. “It’s designed to get them through an election.” Shocking.

    It may be that when we look back at the arc of this campaign, we will see these past few weeks as the tipping point, the time when this very different election became very ordinary, replete with the usual posturing. After all, as Democratic pollster Mark Mellman points out, one of the better predictors of how people will vote is how they answer this question: Who cares the most about people like me? “Everybody is struggling to win that vote,” he says. In that fight, we end up with what former Bill Clinton policy adviser William Galston calls “our lowest-common-denominator democracy,” which foments phony populism–especially when about 80 percent of the voters think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Bush told the nation last week that “if there was a magic wand to wave, I’d be waving it.” You bet he would–if he were running again.

    The way things were. In this world of economic anxiety, there is one thing a politician cannot be, and that’s out of touch. It is why Bush the Elder was skewered in 1988 for not knowing the price of a gallon of milk. And it is why Obama’s remarks about small-town bitterness came as a gift to his opponents. They provided fodder for an easy and damaging story line about his elite tastes and appeal, which helped fuel his loss to Clinton among important lower-income white voters in Pennsylvania. As economic fears mount, Obama’s simple message of change suddenly seems more complex, even threatening. Yes, voters want to change Washington. But at the same time, some folks (especially older ones) want to go back to the way things were. Most of all, says one Democratic strategist, “change may now seem too vague and irrelevant to people suffering economically. They want action.”

    Enter Hillary Clinton, working gal. Forget the message about experience, about those years close to power in the White House. Now the graduate of Wellesley and Yale aw is a 9-to-5-er who feels your pain at the pump and at work. She’s mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, and she’s fighting for you. “She only found her message when it became clear she needed it,” says an unaffiliated Democratic strategist. Hey, answering the red phone at 3 a.m. is also working the night shift, right?

    So as Obama wrestles with his narcissistic pastor and the larger demons of race, Clinton poses at the pump and McCain tries to give you a tax break. Just another day at work.”

  • Michael

    In an addendum to Michel’s post on “Alice in Wonderland” politics, Joyce, you are missing an important point– which is feasibility. This will never get passed through Congress (and then approved by Bush). The Senators know this– furthermore, there is no guarantee that the Oil Companies won’t raise their prices after the reduction in taxes.

    Again, basic economic language: you tax what you don’t want and subsidize what you do want.

    Right now this is political pandering– of Alice in Wonderland politiking, and has no feasibility. We can talk about the actual economic difference (and possible opportunity costs), but this should stay in the hypothetical category.

  • Arthur

    If you always do what you always do, then you get the same results. I think any initiative either one of the candidates propose will be better than what George and Company are doing.

    Bring the prices back to reality and hold the oil companies responsible.

  • Babs

    Never say never, Michael, we’re talking about the United States Congress here, remember? *ROFL*

  • bennett

    To me, Hillary is a pollcat politician, her recent waxing on Iran, this ridiculous gas tax holiday and unwise windfall proft tax (Don’t tax the profits, that is entirely regressive, give American energy companies major incentives to turn profits into investment in mass production and deployment of renewable technologies, and development of renewable trasportaion infrastructure, make them partners not adversaries), she will say and do nearly anything to get elected. When this is all said and done and Obama is the nominee, I think many will look back and view this as one of the major reasons why her campaign of inevitability collapsed, people love the Clinton name brand, but they have a hard time determining where exactly she stands on any number of issues, to mention nhing of her ruthless campaign tactcs… I wouldwrite more but it is timefor finals: Obama wins both states today, and if he does Hillary is gonna dropout,…. my prediction….

  • Michel

    Arthur said:
    “If you always do what you always do, then you get the same results.”

    Arthur, you are talking about common sense. There are people here who just doesn’t have it.

    Babs said:

    “Never say never, Michael, we’re talking about the United States Congress here.”

    Good point. Typical pro-republican comment, though.

  • Michael

    bennett, i think you’re right IF she loses both states, but I see her taking Indiana, albeit by a slim margin. Now this slim margin in both races will continue to demonstrate her inability to recover pledged delegates…but it has stopped being about voters and their pledged delegates a long time ago.

  • Michel

    I think you’re right Michael. However, the same argument was heard when she won by 9 points in Pennsylvania. And yet, after Pennsylvania, Clinton picked up 13 superdelegates and Obama got 22 new ones.

    Can someone explain that to me?

  • bennett

    I dont think that Indiana is gonna be like Ohio or Penn. for Clinton: proximity in the mid and north part of the state to Illnois and Chicago is a unique factor to this primary…
    My opinion on the superdelegates and my response to your point Michel is that many of the supers are waiting for the right time to close ranks behind Obama. I think a huge and underlying sentiment at play here is the desire by many to move past the politics of yesteryear, i.e Clinton’s and Bush’s. Obama by a slim margin in Indiana.

  • Michael

    Obama needed to really galvanize support in places like Gary, South Bend, and Bloomington for a win in Indiana. I don’t think he got it. Indiana’s majority is in the Clinton demographics, and it would require a lot more new voters for him to pull off a victory. Currently it is looking like a Clinton win by 3-5%.