Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Super Surrogates Defend Obama's Wins

McCaskill: "Pennsylvania is not a true test."
Says Florida, Michigan delegates must be seated
But Adds: "You can't change the rules."
Sen. Claire McCaskill defended Barack Obama's ability to win states critical to general election success and called independent voters the key the victory in November during a midday conference call with reporters across the country Wednesday.

McCaskill also said the April 22nd Pennsylvania primary would not be a true test because its not an open primary. McCaskill joined the Governors from Iowa, Washington and Wisconsin to bat back claims from Hillary Clinton's campaign that Obama is failing to win the big important states.

"This is a little know leader who's taken on an institution in the party . . . and he has won," McCaskill said, noting Obama's lead in delegates, states won and the popular vote. "The big state spin in the Clinton camp is just spin. There's no reason to believe New York, California and Massachusetts won't vote for (Barack Obama) in November," McCaskill added.

McCaskill also tried to downplay the significance of Pennsylvania, where Clinton looks to hold an advantage. "Even in Pennsylvania, this is a state that went both for Al Gore and John Kerry," she said.

She again touted Missouri as a bellwether, and noted Obama's victory there. She appeared to say Obama won the state "by a very wide margin," when in reality his margin was about 11,000 votes. (McCaskill's communication's director later clarified she was referring to his margin among independents, not total voters.)

McCaskill also said it was "very, very problematic" for any candidate to suggest that John McCain is better prepared to be Commander in Chief than Barack Obama. Clearly referring to Sen. Clinton but without mentioning her name, McCaskill said, "that's flat wrong and should not be allowed to occur."

Citing McCain's 100-year comment on Iraq, McCaskill said "clearly Barack Obama is better qualified than John McCain to become president."

On the thorny issue of Florida, which appears to be moving towards a mail-in re-vote sometime in June, McCaskill said it was very important to find a way to "hear from Florida."

"The delegates from Florida and Michigan must be seated," McCaskill said. But she added that how to do that remains up in the air. "The elected leaders and even the Clinton supporters can't agree," she added.

McCaskill did not offer an option that would be acceptable to both campaigns, but said Obama would be more than happy to participate in a resolution.

"You can't change the rules in the middle of the game," McCaskill said.

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