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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Iran has made overtures to the US on Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza?

This is one of those second hand stories that could well be about shaping perceptions, but file it away as maybe something.
...previously undisclosed details are emerging of a secret meeting between Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, other senior Iraqi officials, and the commander of Iran's Qods Force, Brig. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in April, after clashes with Sadr's Mahdi Army in Basra.

In that meeting, General Soleimani "was deeply concerned" and "promised to stop arming groups in Iraq and to ensure that groups halt activities against US forces," according to a description given by a US official to the Monitor.

Soleimani gave Mr. Talabani a "message" for US Gen. David Petraeus, too. He noted that his portfolio includes Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon and that he was willing to "send a small team" to "discuss any issue" with the Americans.

From the sound of this, the US command in Iraq is highly skeptical.

: What does it say that this meeting supposedly took place in April, the US made loud noises about Iran, and then Hezbullah flares up in Lebanon?

Does that mean the Iranians were blowing smoke then? Or that they met the US tone and rejection with an example? Or is this whole thing something else?

And, who leaked this now and for what purpose?

I have a feeling there's alot going on here that we're not seeing.

Questions for McCain

1) Since John McCain predicted that by the end of his first term he will have killed Bin Laden because "The increase in actionable intelligence that the counterinsurgency produced led to the capture or death of Osama bin Laden, and his chief lieutenants," maybe someone should ask him why the current president hasn't been able to obtain and act on this "actionable intelligence?"

Why, according to McCain, has this president failed?

2) After all the talk of McCain "distancing" himself from George Bush, where is the distance? Economic Policy? Foreign Policy? Immigration? Social Security? Iraq?

3) Wasn't "negotiating with enemies" the way John McCain got released from the Hanoi Hilton?

Saturday Reading

Nothing's really lighting me up, so here are a few interesting reads.

(Salon) Paul Maslin, a Democratic pollster, looks at Obama's electoral map. (Difficult in a balanced year, but quite achievable in this environment.)

(McClatchy has a smaller and more limited piece focusing on "swing states.")

Julie Bosman in the NYTimes takes a sharp, Milbank-like, look at the Clinton campaign. (It does appear that Clinton has changed tone and has stopped attacking Obama.)

This was yesterday, but it's still on my mind, an AP report that two Chinook helicopters were intentionally sabotaged at the Boeing manufacturing plant.

The first Bush-McCain fundraiser takes place next month in Az.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

Maybe if he was willing to go a little further than holding hands.....

(Bush and Abdullah today. (AP/Susan Walsh))

Political bits

(Politico) It doesn't mean anything, but.... "A Florida Democratic Party source says that, by their count, at least 8 of the state's 13 Edwards delegates are switching to Obama, and none to Hillary."

(BayArea) Another Ca. superdelegate, Pete Stark, for Obama.

(NBC) "NBC NEWS has adjusted the delegate split out of North Carolina, resulting in two more for Obama and two less for Clinton."

(Clinton) The Hillary Clinton website is now asking it's attendants to email the DNC over Florida and Michigan. (Sure to win friends...)

MoveOn has come out with an ad attacking John McCain for his top adviser (and lobbyist) Charlie Black pointing to his lobbying work for Ferdinand Marcos, Zaire's Mbutu, and Angola's Sivimbe.

(Politico) Another McCain campaign adviser/lobbyist has to resign because of conflicts. (Qatar and Serbia.)

The New Republic has a piece where they sent out questionaires of a sort to Hillary Clinton folks asking "What went wrong?" (It's interesting. It's in their words.)

With Bush/McCain and Obama fighting, Clinton has just disappeared.

And, Fun fact, Did you know that a half a million African Americans Georgia are eligible to vote but haven't registered?

A sign of the changing times.....

The Republicans Congressional Agenda no longer contains any "social issues." No abortion, same sex marriage, prayer in schools, etc.

An absolute must read in the NYTimes.

The Pakistanis have quit our war.
Pakistani officials are making it increasingly clear that they have no interest in stopping cross-border attacks by militants into Afghanistan....

In an unusual step during a visit to Pakistan in March, Adm. Eric T. Olson, the commander of United States Special Operations Command, held a round-table discussion with a group of civilian Pakistani leaders to sound them out on the possibility of cross-border raids by American forces. He was told in no uncertain terms that from the Pakistani point of view it was a bad idea, said one of the participants......

It appears the latest Pakistani/tribal peace accord, including Taleban warlord Baitullah Mehsud, is going forward. Implied in this article is that the agreement includes a stop on terror attacks in Pakistan in exchange for safe haven and free flow across the Afghani border.
The pending peace accord with the militants shows where Pakistan and American interests diverge. The accord..... makes no mention of banning cross-border raids into Afghanistan.

The agreement with Mr. Mehsud.... has also alarmed Washington because it fails to call for the rapid expulsion of foreign fighters from Arab countries, Uzbekistan and Chechnya, which make up the backbone of Al Qaeda and its allies in the region.

And then there's this
Earlier this month, Afrasiab Khattak and Asfandyar Wali Khan, the leaders of the Awami National Party, which leads the government in the North-West Frontier Province, met with Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and Mr. Negroponte in Washington.

In their meetings, Mr. Khattak said, it was hard to deter the Americans from the notion of launching their own operations into Pakistan. The topic came up “again and again,” he said.

The Americans specifically mentioned their concern that Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas were preparing an attack on the United States, he said.

Picture of the Day

(Pakistani tribesmen visit a damaged house after a missile attack in Damadola village of the Bajaur tribal region in Pakistan May 15, 2008. Angry residents of a Pakistani village on the Afghan border stopped government officials on Thursday from approaching the ruins of a house struck by missiles suspected to have been fired by a U.S. drone. Eighteen people including foreign militants were killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Damadola. (REUTERS/Ammad Waheed))

McCain has more explaining to do.

In the WaPo today, James Rubin points out that McCain was willing to engage in talks with Hamas just two years ago. (Not iron clad, but it does undermine the attack.) (YouTube clip.)

After yet another Washington insider is bounced from his campaign, John McCain has to issue a new "conflict of interest" policy and revet all of his top staff. (This one for questionably legal ties to a 527. Previous campaign "retirements" have come for past lobbying work for Myanmar, Sudan, and other bad actors.)

Yesterday it was announced that Cindy McCain sold $2 million in mutual funds which had ties to the Sudanese government.

And, I don't know enough from this AP article to make a solid judgment, but more ethical questions about another McCain land deal where the government bought land from his large donors? (I think this is the third.)

(It sure would be useful if the focus were on McCain rather than the Dem primary.)

AP: Florida, Michigan delegates cannot save Clinton

This seems more opinion than article, but Nedra Pickler talked to a number of the members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee and her impression is that Florida and Michigan will not be seated in Clinton's "best case" scenario.

My tinfoil hat

Maybe the whole flareup about Bush calling Obama an "appeaser" yesterday was also about dominating the headlines so nobody would notice this.
In a separate development on Friday, the United States said it would sign an agreement with Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom develop peaceful nuclear energy.

This isn't India, or even Pakistan. If the Saudi monarchy falls, the replacement government is likely to be Islamic fundamentalist of some sort very likely to have direct ties to terrorists.

Then, of course, there's the obvious Saudi-Iran juxtaposition.

(Oil hit another record today as Bush meets with the Saudi king.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

34 Years......

(Shelly Bailes (L) and her partner of 34 years, Ellen Pontac, hug after hearing a decision by California's Supreme Court in San Francisco, California, May 15, 2008. The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday the state cannot bar same-sex marriages. (REUTERS/Kimberly White))

I don't get it

I'm not trying to be insensitive here, but I just don't see it.
An Ohio-based group of Democratic Hillary Clinton supporters say they’ll work actively against Sen. Barack Obama if he becomes the nominee, arguing that Clinton has been the subject of “intense sexism” by party leaders and the media.

What is the sexism? Is there some language I'm not aware of?

If I'm wrong, please, please, show me.

Later: So I went to the most shilling Clinton site I could find, and apparently anything that is not Clinton is sexist. Edwards as VP sexist. Obama as nominee, sexist. And somehow, I'm not sure how, picking another woman for VP over Clinton would be sexist.


Obama picks up 4 more superdelegates so far today, probably the biggest name being Rep. Henry Waxman.

Following Edwards

The United Steelworkers who stood with John Edwards endorse Obama, and the first Edwards delegate declares for Obama.

Later: (CNN) "At least six of John Edwards’ eight pledged delegates in South Carolina will throw their support to Barack Obama..."

Also notice the way the Edwards endorsement shifted the conversation from an Obama/Clinton ticket to Obama/Edwards.

The complicated politics of Iran

Here's an interesting AP piece that paints an increasingly complex relationship between the Iraqi government and Iran. Iran wants less US influence, but the current Iraqi government needs the US support to maintain their grip on power.

Also, the US refuses even the idea of security guarantees to Iran. (So, we won't promise not to attack them, but insist that they give up their nuclear program making them more vulnerable to attack....)

(All while Bush is in Israel threatening Iran.)

Picture of the Day

(Carly Smith, 6, makes an angel in the confetti that dropped during a West Virginia Presidential Primary night rally by Senator Hillary Clinton, May 13, 2008. (REUTERS/Jason Reed))


When you're trying to win over Hillary Clinton's female over 50 base and trying to ease Clinton out of the race, calling a female reporter "sweetie" is about the stupidest thing you could do.

John McCain campaigns in a postulated future

Very, very weird. John McCain gives an entire speech fantasizing where we will be in 4 years if he is elected president.
• "The Iraq war has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced."

• The Taliban threat in Afghanistan has been greatly reduced.

• "The increase in actionable intelligence that the counterinsurgency produced led to the capture or death of Osama bin Laden, and his chief lieutenants," McCain said. "There still has not been a major terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001."

• A "League of Democracies" has supplanted a failed United Nations to apply sanctions to the Sudanese government and halt genocide in Darfur.

• The United States has had "several years of robust growth," appropriations bills free of lawmakers' pet projects known as "earmarks," public education improved by charter schools, health care improved by expansion of the private market and an energy crisis stemmed through the start of construction on 20 new nuclear reactors.

• Democrats are asked to serve in his administration, he holds weekly news conferences and, like the British prime minister, answers questions publicly from lawmakers.

It's not unusual for a candidate to say "I will do X," but it is unusual for a candidate to create an entire fictional future.

Then again, it's not like he can run effectively in the present.

(Ambinder has large chunks of the speech, and it really is a fictional future.)

Later: The RNC has issued a weird ad to support this titled 2013 which depicts a McCain caused utopia (without explaining how any of it happens.) Talk about your fantasy.......

If you didn't see it......

The Daily Show was pretty hysterical last night on racism and West Virginia.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pass the popcorn

With the Congressional GOP freaking out over their losses,
But Mr. McCain’s advisers said the Mississippi race underlined his intention to distance himself as much as possible from Congressional Republicans.

So, McCain is running away from the Congressional GOP, and everybody is running away from Bush....

It could be a fun fall.....

(PS. Wasn't John McCain a Congressional Republican for 28 years?)

Later: This is particularly funny because the Congressional Republicans are saying that they want to grab hold of McCain to help save themselves.

Another good article on the Congressional GOP's freakout.

(Politico) The GOP will be fighting over money problems, too.

And, Rahm Emanuel even showed up at the GOP meeting to gloat.

Picture of the Day - 2

Shared vision vs. low road?

(From the NH debate, Jan 8, 2008. (Brian Snyder/Reuters))

John Edwards to endorse Barack Obama tonight.

Is this it? Is an Edwards endorsement the end of it all?

(I wonder how long the Obama campaign has held this in their pocket only to bring it out right when the media is asking whether Obama can win Edwards' prime demographic.)

This also has the nice effect of changing the narrative from race and West Virginia to a "coalescing of the party."

And, Does Edwards encourage his delegates to Obama?

It's only racism when it affects me.

After all the crap the Clinton's pushed trying to minimize the black vote behind Obama, it's pretty funny to see her try to minimize the 22% of the primary self admitted racist vote in West Virginia.

(She also admits that her "white Americans" comment was wrong. (But only after the racially charged West Virgina primary!!!))

Take a minute....

Take a minute to read the start of this unbelievable story from the WaPo. The ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has been drugging immigration deportees with psychiatric drugs "against their will to keep them sedated during the trip back to their home country."

National numbers.

Following on yesterday's WaPo/ABC poll showing both Obama and Clinton beating McCain, we have a new Quinnipiac showing roughly the same +6 spread over McCain.

In both polls, Obama does marginally better than Clinton against McCain, but I'm not sure that matters a whole lot. What seems to be important is that there is no real "electability gap" between the two which would seem to eviscerate Clinton's entire claim.

Later: There's also the little matter of the internals. Both the Q poll internals and the WaPo internals show McCain winning "working class whites" over both Clinton and Obama by about the same margins.

NRCC Chair Tom Cole tells House GOP members to panic.

After the loss in the Mississippi special election last night, NRCC chair Tom Cole issues a memo which can only be taken as a directive for his GOP charges to panic.

Explicitly, he's warning all the GOP House members that they had better watch their own situations, but it would also seem that he's telling them to hoard their cash, meaning less national money for the NRCC to spread around.

He's saying he expects the NRCC will be playing hard defense, not offense, in the Congressional races.

My guess would be that he's not long for that job.

Endorsements and superdelegates

I found this interesting, three former SEC chairmen appointed under this Bush, Clinton, and Reagan are endorsing Obama today, as well as Paul Volcker.

So far this morning, the Obama campaign has received 1 1/2 more superdelegates. (Later: A couple more half delegates.)


Per John King, CNN,
"Barack Obama has to win just 3 in 10" remaining delegates (pledged or super) to clinch the nomination.

Picture of the Day

Dana Milbank minces: "....After an appropriate wait, she steps from the plane and pretends to wave to a crowd of supporters; in fact, she is waving to 10 photographers underneath the airplane's wing. She pretends to spot an old friend in the crowd, points and gives another wave; in fact, she was waving at an aide she had been talking with on the plane minutes earlier."

(Senator Hillary Clinton waves as she disembarks her charter plane as she arrives in Charleston, West Virginia. (AFP/Robyn Beck))

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"My supporters are racist...." (from SNL)

This is self reporting. This is looking an exit poller in the face and saying, "yup, I hate black people."
Exit polls in West Virginia showed two of every 10 white voters said race was a factor in their decision, and only a third of those said they would support Obama against McCain.

The Clinton camp must be so proud that their positive message carried the day.

The math on Clinton's win.

(AP) Clinton won 20 of the 28 delegates at stake in West Virginia and Obama won eight, so Clinton +12 delegates.

And, (CNN) Clinton picked up almost 150,000 in the popular vote.

That smell is coming from the GOP's collective pants.

The Dem candidate won the special election for Mississippi's 1st Congressional seat in a district that went 62/38 for Bush in 2004.

This is a race the national Republicans threw alot of money at and they still lost. There's some complicating local factors, but Wow.

(Later: He won by alot, 54/46.)

Picture of the Day - 3

Counties Hillary Clinton won by 20% or more.

Just some perspective for West Virginia tonight.

(Via DKos. Recommended by EPM.)

The Obama campaign's spin

(Memo) "...And for perspective, while 28 pledged delegates are up for grabs this evening, Obama has won the support of 27 superdelegates in the course of just the last week..."

True. But it's still gonna sting.

Obama +4 superdelegates

In the daily count, it's Obama +4 superdelegates.

Plus, a Maryland pledged delegate, chosen by the Clinton campaign, switches to Obama.

Making West Virginia matter

So, West Virginia, which has half the population of my city, is now a "big state?"

Serious grumblings on the GOP side.....

While the Dem divisions among Obama and Clinton supporters are almost entirely about personality not policy differences, the GOP seems to be flaking off a number of its constituencies.

First you have the Libertarian fracture, primarily over the war in Iraq. Bob Barr is trying to run on the Libertarian ticket with a seemingly entire goal of taking a chunk out of McCain. (Please ignore the cheesy moustache.)

Next, from inside the Republican party, you have the "Libertarian" Ron Paul supporters who are still organizing, turning out for primaries, trying to take over the state conventions, and even threatening to stage a revolt at the GOP convention.

Then, there's the floating and as yet unorganized Christian Right opposition to McCain which hasn't yet taken too solid a form, but is certainly out there. (Just wait til the abortion plank comes around at the convention.)

Plus, the Tancredo immigration folks aren't too horribly pleased about McCain.

None of these are likely to be huge defecting constituencies, but each will act as a siphon from the right on McCain's support, and collectively, they might mean real points in the general election totals or in particular states.

As we sit and talk about a Democratic Party divided, I think we ought to keep in mind that the Dem problems with their candidates are relatively minor. McCain has passionate dissenters on policy.

Picture of the Day - 2

Click on this photo to make it larger. Seriously, take a minute. It is a beautiful piece of composition.

(At a stop at Tudor's Biscuit World in Charleston, W.Va. (Photo: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times))

Now they're self justifying....

So, now they're saying they're not staying in to win it?
But she and her chief political counselor, her husband, see the two coming primaries as crucial to strengthening her standing and, if it comes to it, to allowing her to leave the race on a high note, the advisers say......

Sizable victories — the Clinton camp believes it could win West Virginia by 25 points or more — might put pressure on Mr. Obama to agree to her demands to seat the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida, some of her advisers say, which would let her claim a victory on a battle she has fought for months.....

But advisers acknowledged that even if she won those states by wide margins, it was probably too late to change the dynamic of the nominating contest in her favor.....

Mrs. Clinton plans to spend the day after the West Virginia primary meeting with advisers and top fund-raisers to discuss the future of the campaign. Aides said they believed she was likely to remain in the race until the Kentucky primary next Tuesday.

(PS. I'll say again, the quickest way for Clinton to get Florida and Michigan seated would be to resign from the race.)

The WaPo poll

The WaPo/ABC poll seems to be getting alot of electronic ink this AM.
"Obama leads McCain by a slim 51-to-44-percent margin" (Clinton leads McCain 49-46)

"Independents will be a key voter group in the fall, and currently they split 51 percent for Obama to 42 percent for McCain." (Clinton McCain 49-46)

"Against Obama, McCain is ahead among whites without college degrees by 52 percent to 40 percent, not that different from McCain's advantage over Clinton in this new poll."

So, Obama polls a 7 point winner against McCain without "whites without college degrees," and yet all day long that's what I'm going to be hearing about.....

(83% say they're watching this race closely, 13% say they're not which would seem to indicate these numbers are a little harder than you might expect.)

Here's the WaPo's raw data page.

Fun Fact

(AP) "West Virginia has 28 delegates at stake Tuesday."

Picture of the Day

David Axelrod, senior advisor to Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama, speaks on his mobile phone on the tarmac of Indianapolis International Airport , May 6, 2008. (Jason Reed/Reuters)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pakistan in trouble

There's alot going on around the world today, but it shouldn't be missed that in Pakistan Nawaz Sharif's party resigned its cabinet positions, "a step short of leaving the coalition and the collapse of the government altogether."

This is not a collapse or a return of Musharraf or the Islamists, but it does mean that the PPP is now going to be significantly weakened as it tries to rule in the minority, negotiating issue by issue with whatever parties are available.

So, short version, Pakistan, really weak central government which likely means that control over the military and Islamist areas will be weakened even further. (WaPo has it, too.)

Obama +4 superdelegates today. (Now leads by all counts?)

Obama has picked up 4 superdelegates so far today, and I think that puts him ahead in every news organizations' count. (I think Chuck Todd/NBC was the last one.)

(Depending on where you get the count, it varies, but according to the DemConWatch count, Hillary Clinton needs 327.5 of the remaining 462.5 delegates available (217 pledged, 245.5 super) to reach the 2,025 nomination threshold. Obama needs only 155.)


Hillary Clinton has lost this race even though she consistently led by 10-20 points among the Democratic party's largest demographic, white women.

Picture of the Day - 2

(Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a campaign event in Eleanor, W. Va. Sunday, May 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola))

Political bits

West Virginia is polling as a rout. How does the assumed end of the campaign affect turnout? Do Clinton supporters show up to protest vote? Stay home in despair? Do Obama supporters come out in what looks like a shellacking?

(WaPo) Clinton aides continued to insist that she will remain in the race even while confirming that she is $20 million in debt. "The voters are going to decide this," senior adviser Howard Wolfson said on "Fox News Sunday," acknowledging the $20 million figure.

Terry McAuliffe "he spoke to Clinton about the possibility of contributing more money and “she said that she would be willing to do it.” However, McAuliffe insists, “We haven’t needed it.”

And, (OpenLeft) An interesting post looking at Obama's online and networking power to raise money, organize volunteers, register voters, etc.

Nuclear proliferation is inevitable

Since the first revelations of nuclear technology, we've been on a nearly inevitable path. Iran is currently cited as the cause, but sooner or later, this was coming.
At least 40 developing countries from the Persian Gulf region to Latin America have recently approached U.N. officials here to signal interest in starting nuclear power programs, a trend that concerned proliferation experts say could provide the building blocks of nuclear arsenals in some of those nations.....

Listed in the article, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, Turkey, and Egypt. (Plus we know the Saudis have made inquiries.)

Picture of the Day

Hardly Princess Di.

(Souvenir coffee mugs celebrating the wedding of President George W. Bush's daughter are for sale in Crawford, Texas May 10, 2008. (Larry Downing/Reuters))

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bernstein says Clinton angling for VP

I've largely ignored the Clinton VP stuff but Carl Bernstein is pretty good and quoting high level people inside of both campaigns.
Friends and close associates of both Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are now convinced that, assuming she loses the race for the presidential nomination, she is probably going to fight to be the vice presidential nominee on an Obama-for-president ticket.

From the dept. of bridge burning,
Almost no one I have spoken to who knows her well doubts that, as she reconciles to the likelihood that her presidential campaign will fall short, she will probably seek the vice presidential spot. One reason: Contrary to common belief, she doesn't look forward to going back to the Senate, they say. Many Democratic senators believe that she would not have an easy time winning an election for majority leader; the tenor and tactics of her presidential campaign have alienated some of her Democratic colleagues in the Senate.

Also in this, notice this is in the present tense,
Yet the Clinton campaign's search for damaging information and its hope that such information exists continues, according to knowledgeable sources....

I still don't think Clinton as VP happens, because the Obama campaign doesn't want it and they hold most of the cards.

More broadly, all of this Clinton as VP talk seems to presume that the party heavyweights continue to sit out, but, if Obama is soon to be the party boss, it might make some sense to assume they might side with Obama on this one.

Really, think about the statements of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, John Edwards..... Who is the big name Dem party powerbroker that is going to back Clinton if she tries to force her way onto the ticket?

In the second tier where there are some Clinton supporters, who is willing to go to war with that first list and the Obama campaign/candidate/presidency?

Nonetheless, it makes interesting Sunday reading.

(The Obama campaign denies there have been any VP discussions, but doesn't deny there have been talks.)


1992 Clinton defeats Bush Sr. (served in the military.)
1996 Clinton defeats Bob Dole (served in the military.)
2000 Bush defeats McCain (served in the military.)
2000 Bush defeats Gore (served in the military.)
2004 Bush defeats Kerry (served in the military.)

Picture of the Day

"Even Saturday Night Live has turned against you....."

(A campaign aide speaks into the ear of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. (AFP/Getty Images/Joe Raedle))

Sunday Reading

In the NYTimes Week in Review, there's a piece claiming that the Dems are capable of reaching into the south to pick up some new seats and offices claiming a new "biracial" politics. (To me, it's much more about the current failures and unpopularity of the Republican Party.)

The WaPo has an interesting piece on the GOP's falling hopes in downticket races. On the Mississippi special Congressional election,
This is the second special election this month in which House Republicans have tried to turn the race into a referendum on a Democratic candidate's ties to Obama. The strategy was unsuccessful in Louisiana, but Republicans view the Mississippi district as more receptive because it is slightly more conservative and has fewer African American voters.

The WaPo also has an interesting piece on out of state Clinton volunteers working in West Virginia, facing the divide in support.
The women stood on the street, outlining a scenario in which Clinton could still win the nomination: big victories in several of the six remaining primaries, including West Virginia's. Public endorsements from John Edwards and Al Gore. Counting primary results from Michigan and Florida. A sudden and overwhelming tide of support from undecided superdelegates to establish her as the clear-cut nominee.

(Politico) GOP getting crushed in polls, key races