Clinton Conference Call 3/13/08; Notes and Audio

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Sorry so late with this. Had a bunch of things to do away from the computer yesterday. Call was with Howard Wolfson, Mark Penn, PA Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Nutter. Direct audio link here.

Highlights:

Olbermann says campaign is awash in filth? HW: We obviously vigorously disagree tho many of remain fans of Keith and enjoy watching the show on nights other than last night.

Nutter: a tremendous amount of enthusiasm… [why is Obama discounting Pennsylvania] because it just doesn’t make any sense… I don’t know if this is a game or a joke…If someone in my office had [written that memo they] would be fired… but this is a serious election and this is a serious state.

Penn: if Barack Obama can’t win there, how can he win the general election…[hasn't passed the c in c test] looks like he’s saying that he won’t pass the keystone test… [past few contests, we’ve seena fundamental shrinking of Barack Obama’s base, and an expansion of Hillary Clinton’s base… he lost ground and we gained ground among men, women, democrats, independents, and republicans…

Rendell: [when DNC chair in 2000] I would have a yellow pen… try to figure out the electoral math… zero scenario in 2000 where we could get to 2070 without carrying Pennsylvania… this is not a solid blue state, this is a purple state… she does well with rural voters, suburban voters, blue-collar, so-call Regan voters…

Nutter: a tremendous amount of enthusiasm… [why is Obama discounting Pennsylvania] because it just doesn’t make any sense… I don’t know if this is a game or a joke…If someone in my office had [written that memo they] would be fired… but this is a serious election and this is a serious state.

Rendell: if you’re looking for a state that’s a true test for someone’s national appeal… We have three metro centers…[but] primarily a rural state … midwest tinge… eastern tinge… a state that is as diverse as the nation… we’re the last big state that has more than 150[?] electoral votes on the calendar…

Rendell: The way we select delegates is not all that democratic… the caucus system disenfranchises older voters, shift workers, and service men… I think we have a chance… to have taken more popular votes… and rules going in, superdelegates are there to exercise their judgement…

[Contentious primary helps John McCain?] Rendell: Mike Fisher [GOP contender for governor when Rendell ran]: couldn’t have gotten any publicity if he’d walked down Main st. playing the banjo… you can make the case that … tho thre is some level of contest heat, it’s good for us, and it’s a handicap for John McCain

Olbermann says campaign is awash in filth? HW: We obviously vigorously disagree tho many of remain fans of Keith and enjoy watching the show on nights other than last night.

Rendell: [Will you the political machine politics to defeat Clinton/use your influence as governor to swing Pennsylvania for Clinton?] [I will ask people to to] Not just vote for Sen Clinton because I said so, but why they should vote for her…. [she'll bring] green jobs, energy independences… there aren’t really any political machines left, particularly for a presidential election… to the extent that there are party organizations, i think most of those are going to be working on behalf of Sen Clinton…. on the other hand, Sen Obama has an unlimited amount of money to build organization… having a gov on board is helpful but not dispositive…that’s why Sen Clinton is busting her [cute pause] back…

[Clinton favorability ratings of Santorum] Rendell: I’ve seen her turn people around in state after state after state… she’s done a marvelous job as a candidate on a personal level… [willing to make a lunch bet with the reporter, by the time the primary is done,] her unfavorables will be down 10, 15 percent

Phil Singer [staffer, on re-dos]: obviously, the most important thing … those votes must be counted and those people must be included in this process… we’ve got to do everything as Democrats to include them in the process… we must include these important states [if we're going to win the general election]

[Obama has started to make ground here, has offices in PA, how is it now that he's "ignoring the state"?] HW: he’s downplaying the importance of PN in the primary and therefore in the general election… Penn is not a democratic state, its a competitive state… surprising that Obama camp put out a memo downplaying the importance of Penn in this context

[If Obama wins here, does that send a message that he should be the nominee?] HW: Obama team going to do everything they can to promote that notion… we feel very good about our chances here… if afterwards, our optimism is not borne out, we can revisit the question…

[Is this primary going to damage the Dems in the general?] HW: [Democrat all my life, believe in the empowerment of women and minorities] I find it incredibly exciting that the 2 leading contenders … [are] an African-American man and a woman… I did not think we would be at this place so soon… opp to get past old divisions… I am the father of a 3 year old girl who has begun following the campaign in the way that a 3 y o can and I am proud to tell her that I work for Sen. Clinton… and that too means that more doors will be more open to more Americans throughout her life… [because the race has been contention] it has meant that sometimes the focus has been on the wrong things, but more often than not, it’s been a source of pride.