# North Carolina

Ron Paul endorses Constitution Party candidate

A few weeks ago I read that Ron Paul was not endorsing any presidential candidate but was urging his supporters to vote for the third-party candidate of their choice–anyone but Barack Obama or John McCain.

However, this week Paul endorsed Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. The Wall Street Journal blog pointed me toward this letter from Paul to supporters, which contains a bit of a rebuke to Libertarian candidate Bob Barr:

The Libertarian Party Candidate admonished me for “remaining neutral” in the presidential race and not stating whom I will vote for in November.   It’s true; I have done exactly that due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members.  I remain a lifetime member of the Libertarian Party and I’m a ten-term Republican Congressman.  It is not against the law to participate in more then one political party.  Chuck Baldwin has been a friend and was an active supporter in the presidential campaign.

I continue to wish the Libertarian and Constitution Parties well.  The more votes they get, the better.  I have attended Libertarian Party conventions frequently over the years.

In some states, one can be on the ballots of two parties, as they can in New York.  This is good and attacks the monopoly control of politics by Republicans and Democrats.  We need more states to permit this option.  This will be a good project for the Campaign for Liberty, along with the alliance we are building to change the process.

I’ve thought about the unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate, and he has convinced me to reject my neutral stance in the November election.  I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.

When you think about what an insiders’ club Congress is, it’s amazing that Paul (still a Republican Congressman from Texas) did not endorse his former colleague Barr, who represented Georgia for many years in the House. Barr has denounced the Republican Party for embracing big government and not insisting that the president abide by the law.

The big question for me is whether Paul’s endorsement of Baldwin will cut into Barr’s support in some of the key swing states. I’ve argued before that Barr could tip Nevada to Obama, but ProgressiveSouth writes that Barr could also be a factor in North Carolina.

Anyone out there know any Ron Paul voters or caucus-goers? Will they settle for McCain, sit out the election or vote for a third-party alternative?

For the record, nine presidential candidates will appear on the Iowa ballot, including Baldwin and Barr.

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Indiana/North Carolina results open thread

Obama wins by double digits in North Carolina (56-42 with 95 percent reporting).

Clinton is ahead narrowly in Indiana (52-48 with 87 percent reporting). However, heavily African-American Lake County, where Gary is located, has not reported yet, and even the Obama supporter Markos finds that suspicious.

UPDATE: Clinton held on to win Indiana narrowly, 51-49, but Obama’s blowout in NC was by a bigger popular vote margin than Clinton’s in Pennsylvania. She needed to do better. I am glad that demagoguing on the gas tax didn’t pay off for her.

For Obama to keep it that close in Indiana bodes well for him, because he’s had a rough few weeks. However, I still disagree with those who say Hillary should pack it in. [UPDATE: Given that Obama’s popular vote lead now seems insurmountable, she may well want to quit, although I don’t think it would be terrible to wait until after the rest of the primaries.] Let all the states and territories vote, and then let the superdelegates settle this in mid-June. Voters are energized all over the country, and they should all have a chance to express their will. If Obama is ahead in the popular vote as well as the pledged delegate count, I think he should be the nominee.

On a related note, I thought Clinton supporter Todd Beeton made an excellent point today:

I was asked the other night: “Why is Hillary still in this thing?” I responded, “Has Barack won the nomination? Because if he has, why is he still campaigning?” Seriously, if the nomination is so settled as many Obama supporters like to claim, he’s free to just go home to Chicago. No one’s stopping him. Yet it’s Hillary Clinton who is the object of the ire of Obama supporters who seem to honestly believe that Hillary Clinton’s winning the nomination would be tantamount to her robbing him of something he hasn’t won yet. What a joke.

UPDATE: Wow, Donna Brazile, a self-described “undeclared” superdelegate who talks like an Obama supporter, made some worrisome comments tonight on CNN. Talk Left has the whole transcript here:


Key excerpt:

BRAZILE: Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul. But, Paul, you’re looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don’t have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

She and Clinton supporter Paul Begala had quite the exchange after that.

It concerns me that some Obama supporters seem so unfazed by his failure to connect with certain key Democratic constituencies.

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Gas tax spat roundup and Indiana/North Carolina predictions open thread

Elected officials and policy advocates are getting increasingly annoyed by Hillary Clinton’s decision to make this nominating contest about her really bad proposal to suspend the gas tax this summer and pay for it with a windfall tax on oil companies.

Today Tom Harkin weighed in on the issue, telling reporters that Congress will not take up this proposal. Even if the gas tax holiday were enacted, Harkin suggested, consumers would not benefit much, and the Iowa Department of Transportation would lose about $75 million in revenues to rebuild infrastructure.

Friends of the Earth Action, which supported John Edwards for president and had been sitting out the campaign since he left the race, today endorsed Barack Obama, largely because of the gas tax issue:

“We endorse Senator Obama because we believe he is the best candidate for the environment,” said Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder.  “The ‘gas tax holiday’ debate is a defining moment in the presidential race.  The two other candidates responded with sham solutions that won’t ease pain at the pump, but Senator Obama refused to play that typical Washington game.  Instead, Obama called for real solutions that would make transportation more affordable and curb global warming.  He showed the courage and candor we expect from a president.”

Friends of the Earth Action ran radio and television ads on behalf of Edwards in the early-voting states, and the group is now running this ad supporting Obama:

As I’ve said many times, I would vote for either Obama or Clinton in the general and have no strong preference between the two. I would hate to see Hillary gain the inside track for the nomination through this kind of political posturing, though. It’s such a bad idea on so many levels.

Obama appears to be feeling the heat on this issue. A few days ago his campaign put out a television ad calling the gas tax holiday a “bogus” idea that would just help big oil companies (click the link to view that ad). However, his closing ad in Indiana and North Carolina moves away from that issue to a more general message:

Meanwhile, Clinton seems to think she has hit pay dirt, and has made the gas tax the focus of her closing ad in the states that will vote tomorrow:

For a laugh, I highly recommend this diary by Matt Stoller, CONFIDENTIAL/URGENT POLITICAL PROPOSAL, which skewers Hillary’s proposal on the gas tax by presenting it in the format of those scam e-mails promising to make you rich.

Please put up your predictions for the Indiana and North Carolina primaries in the comments. I say these results will be mirror images of each other: Obama will win NC 55-45, and Hillary will win Indiana by the same margin.

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