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May 21st, 2008 WW Editorial Staff | Rogue of the Week
 

Hillary Clinton

The calculus of desperation

     
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BYE-BYE, OREGON: Hello, Roguishly fuzzy math.

In the days before Oregon’s May 20 primary, Sen. Hillary Clinton made a dubious claim while barnstorming Kentucky, which held its primary the same day as the Beaver State.

“I am leading in the popular vote,” Clinton said in a CNN broadcast. “More Americans have voted for me.” Clinton’s Oregon campaign echoed that claim in a news release May 18. But Clinton’s math is fuzzy or outright misleading, giving her at least one landslide victory before she leaves Oregon—in WW’s Rogue primary.

Her Oregon news release cites ABC News, which put the popular vote at 16,691,639 for Clinton and 16,648,060 for Sen. Barack Obama before May 20. Those numbers include the disputed results in Florida and Michigan. Neither candidate campaigned in those states after the national party stripped their delegates for holding early primaries. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan.

And ABC’s tally uses caucus results in Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Washington and Texas, which never reported the number of actual votes cast. ABC instead counts initial delegates in those states, a far lower number. Obama won four of those five caucuses, losing only Nevada. If you estimate the number of votes cast in those states, ABC said Obama was slightly ahead in the popular vote, even including the disputed states of Florida and Michigan.

Julie Edwards, Clinton’s Oregon spokeswoman, stands by her candidate’s tally. “This is who people cast ballots for,” she says. “What is a better reflection of the will of the voters?”

Assuming Oregon’s polls before press time were accurate (check wweek.com for all the election coverage), state D’s delivered the best response to the bogus Clinton claim: They chose Obama.

 
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