New York Times Politics Blog
January 11, 2008
By Ariel Alexovich
As would be expected, the two gentlemen from the
Democratic Leadership Council on a conference call
today told reporters they're very confident in their
party's chances of reclaiming the White House, they're
And then Al From, the D.L.C. founder, said he was 'very
happy about the two candidates' Americans are
Only two candidates?
Our ears perked up as we listened on.
'This is a really hard choice, really, for Democratic
voters because they like both candidates,' said Mr.
From. 'For me, I don't see that going to be a problem.
I think in the end, Senator Obama's appeal that he's
made very firmly and directly to independent voters,
and Senator Clinton's appeal to the forgotten middle
class are going to add up to a very smashing Democratic
majority in the fall.'
'This is not uncommon in primaries to see this kind of
passionate support for one's candidate,' added Harold
Ford Jr., the D.L.C. chairman and a former Tennessee
Clinton in Iowa, as one reporter pointed out, but Mr.
From still doesn't think Mr. Edwards is viable.
I'm not going to speculate where the Edwards people
go because I don't know, to be honest with you. I
think Edwards has run a hard, tough campaign. It's
not a, you know, he doesn't take the tack that
necessarily I agree with. What we've seen so far in
this campaign is optimism. â*¦
I think what you're saying is that this is moving
into a two-person race and that people in the race
have been optimistic and hopeful, and I think that
bodes well for the party because in the end, as
long as I've been in politics - and I'm a lot older
than 37 - the optimism always beats pessimism.
During the rest of the call, the two men said they were
pleased that none of the Democratic candidates supports
a single-payer health care system, that they are all
taking the environment seriously, and that they're
focusing on national security - a strength that Mr.
From admits, 'we've not always had.'
Mr. From also was asked how he felt about Senator Joe
Lieberman's decision to back Republican John McCain in
this race. (Mr. Lieberman is a former D.L.C. chairman.)
'Joe Lieberman is a close friend of mine,' Mr. From
said. 'I think he made the wrong decision. I disagree
with him. I believe the kind of change we need in this
country is going to come from a Democrat.'
One reporter asked Mr. Ford specifically to talk about
how race could affect the South Carolina primary. Mr.
Ford, who is black, lost the 2006 senatorial election
in Tennessee and some analysts believe racial
undertones played a part in his defeat. He mostly
avoided the question:
There are several million black voters, I'd be
careful not to respond for every black voter... In
terms of the politics of it and where black or
white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American
voters are going to end up in South Carolina -
there may be other groups or other people who are
able to assess that, but that's really not what our
role or where our role is.