IN/NC wrap-up

A very, very good night.

1. Obama +15 (232,000) in North Carolina. Clinton + 1.8 (22,000) in Indiana*. There’s still a tiny bit out in Indiana from Obama’s strong areas; final margin might be near 20,000. (*Update: near-final numbers: Clinton spread in Indiana down to 18,500, or just under 1.5%. Updated update: final spread 13,000, or 1%. In NC, Obama’s spread shunk a little, to 223,000 or 14%.)

2. Obama’s NC margin more than balances out Clinton’s margins in Indiana and Pennsylvania. So even if you believe that “total popular vote” means something in a mix of primaries and caucuses, and even if you want to count Florida, Clinton now can’t catch Obama on that metric.

3. Obama now within 200 delegates of clinching the nomination. With his shares of the 200 pledged delegates and 60 add-ons still to be chosen, he needs about 40 of the roughly 220 currently uncommitted ex officio superdelegates to get there.

4. Tim Russert on Ms-NBC “We now know who the Democratic nominee will be.”

5. Clinton has reportedly cancelled all of the public appearances she had scheduled for tomorrow.

6. Obama gave a pitch-perfect speech, starting out with gracious congratulations to HRC on winning Indiana and with kind words about his supporters in Indiana and the voters there, and then launching into his general-election stump speech.

This fall, we intend to march forward as one Democratic Party, united by a common vision for this country. Because we all agree that at this defining moment in history &#8212 a moment when we’re facing two wars, an economy in turmoil, a planet in peril &#8212 we can’t afford to give John McCain the chance to serve out George Bush’s third term. We need change in America.

… and then to a litany of all the people who need help and “can’t afford four more years” of Bushism. He’s learning how to link his soaring oratory to voters’ bread-and-butter concerns.

6. Clinton continues to threaten a scorched-earth campaign focused on Michigan and Florida, but promises to work hard for the Democratic nominee in November. Others have described the speech as rambling and disconnected; I’m no fair judge of a Clinton speech; you can watch and judge for yourself. Two things struck me: she mentions campaigning in West Virginia and Kentucky, but omits Oregon, the largest to the remaining primaries; and she claims that she would carry Kentucky in the November, which is more likely than having the Rapture occur before then, but only barely so.

7. It appears that the new Clinton campaign management team of Wolfson and Garin managed to violate Mencken’s Law: on the gas tax holiday, they lost votes by underestimating the intelligence of the voters. (And also gave Obama a chance to play to his strength and change the topic from Jeremiah Wright.)

Footnote Obama hit his 1.5-million-donor target sometime yesterday evening.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com