Posted Tuesday, March 4, 2008, at 3:32 PM
The 2008 presidential race has seen some creative campaign strategies, most notably the infamous Ron Paul money bomb . But if Tom Brokaw is correct, the Obama campaign may have something else up its sleeve: a superdelegate bomb .
This morning, Brokaw told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC that someone "very close to the Obama campaign" told him they have 50 endorsers "ready to go public" with their support. Presumably, this would be Obama's coup de grace after March 4.
Here’s how it might work. The likeliest of scenarios today is a split decision:
Clinton wins Ohio, Obama wins Texas
. In which case, expect spin chaos. Obama’s people will point to the overall pledged delegate count. The Clinton camp will direct your attention to the popular votes and
the Texas caucus doesn’t matter.
But the Obama campaign has two secret weapons: money and superdelegates. On the money front, the Obama campaign can finally reveal its February fundraising totals. Clinton announced last week that she had raised $35 million that month; estimates put Obama’s number somewhere north of $50 million . But they’ve waited to announce it, presumably because they wanted to get the timing just right.
After unveiling the cash, send in the superdelegates. Since Super Tuesday, Obama has netted a total of more than 36 new superdelegates, whereas Clinton has lost six. (They continued to trickle Obama-ward today.) If today’s contests are tight, all eyes will turn to superdelegates for guidance on who’s winning. Normally, it matters who's doing the endorsing. But, at this point, big names like Al Gore and Jimmy Carter won’t endorse until a candidate is locked in. Same with party leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean, who don’t benefit from choosing sides. So it’s not about who endorses butabout how many people do. Were the Obama campaign to drop a 50-ton superdelegate bomb on the Clinton campaign’s head the day after a tie, it’s not hard to see where momentum would swing.
Combined with the moneybomb, the superdelegate bomb could decide the race. But like any bomb, it’s something you don’t use unless you have to. To that end, the Obama campaign might have leaked the news to Brokaw to try to scare Hillary into dropping out. That way, she would avoid an embarrassing exodus of superdelegates. But if the threat doesn’t work, and the results of March 4 are close, Obama will waste no time in pushing the red button.