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Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus introducing Obama in Boise (Feb. 08)

Cecil Andrus: Hillary Should Apologize to Red State Democrats

Editor’s note: This press release from the Obama campaign is published here as a guest opinion.

Today, former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus called on the Clinton campaign to apologize for remarks made by Joel Ferguson, the Co-Chairman of the Clinton Campaign in Michigan for calling delegates in red states “second-class.” Ferguson said, “Superdelegates are not second-class delegates. The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic.”

This is the latest in a string of attempts by the Clinton campaign to discount the votes of Democrats in the red states. In an effort to spin their losses, the Clinton campaign has repeatedly criticized Senator Obama’s wins in red states. Governor Andrus said, “Today, a Clinton campaign surrogate took it to another level and said flat out the Democrats in Red States are second-class citizens. This is a step too far. Senator Clinton’s surrogates are telling Democrats in almost half the states in the country that they don’t matter, and that they are second class. Senator Clinton needs to immediately denounce these comments and tell her campaign surrogates to stop taking cheap pot-shots at committed Democrats across the country.”

Andrus added, “We have a senate race and a congressional race that we are going to win. I have been elected four times so don’t tell me a Democrat can’t win. If we tell people that their votes don’t matter, of course they aren’t going to consider voting for Democrats in the general election. This attitude doesn’t just hurt us in the Presidential campaign, but it also hurts down-ballot candidates and our efforts to build the party. We can’t have another polarizing election that starts with a candidate If you tell telling people living in smaller states that their voices don’t matter. Obama has been successful in earning support from voters of all races, genders, in red states and blue states. We need to continue those efforts and not stifle them before the election even begins.”

Clinton Criticism of Red States

TODAY: Clinton Supporter Calls Red State Democrats Second Class. “‘Superdelegates are not second-class delegates,’ says Joel Ferguson, who will be a superdelegate if Michigan is seated. ‘The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic.’” [Politico, 12/18/2008]

Clinton Said She Was Winning The Big States Democrats Had To Win And Said “We Are Never Going To Carry Alaska, Idaho, It’s Just Not Going To Happen.” Clinton, on the states she has been winning in the primary, said “I have been winning the big states we have to win. With all due respect, unless there is a tsunami change in America, we are never going to carry Alaska, North Dakota, Idaho, it’s just not going to happen, but we have to carry the states I’ve been carrying, the primary states, the states that have to be in the winning Democratic column. And if you look at my vote there, it is the voters we have to have: People making less than $50,000, women, Latinos.” [Politico Forum, 2/11/07]

Clinton Downplayed Red State Wins, Said “It is Highly Unlikely” Democrats Will Win Alaska, North Dakota, Idaho or Nebraska. “She also downplayed many of Obama’s Super Tuesday victories, describing them as states that Democrats should not expect to win in November. “It is highly unlikely we will win Alaska or North Dakota or Idaho or Nebraska,” she said, naming several of Obama’s red state wins. “But we have to win Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Michigan … And we’ve got to be competitive in places like Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma.” [CNN, 2/11/08]

Mark Penn Minimized Obama Wins In Red States. “Sen. Obama, in contrast, won with large margins in Alabama and Georgia, two states that have been in the Republican column in the last two elections. He also won with large margins in a string of caucus states with comparatively fewer voters – Alaska, Idaho, Utah, and Kansas – and have also been in the Republican column. Of course, he won his home state.” [Mark Penn memo, 2/6/08]

Harold Ickes said Idaho, Nebraska and Kansas will not vote for a Democratic president. “In response to a question from NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Ickes acknowledged Obama has done well in some smaller contests like Idaho, Nebraska and Kansas, but said those Republican strongholds will never flip in November. ‘I agree he’s done well in those caucus states – we didn’t make as much of an effort as we probably should have,’ Ickes said. ‘But those states simply are not going to vote this year for a Democratic president, Andrea.’” [Politico, 2/16/08]

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  1. It is really amazing what a candidate will attempt to do when they are looking at a loss, especially when they are so close in votes.

    Heck, just look at what Bush pulled in 2000.

  2. As a potential candidate myself, this galls me to no end. Andrus is right on the money here. I’m all for party unity and such, but unless there’s some sort of official apology, I may very well go out of my way to endorse “none of the above” in the general if HRC is the nominee.

  3. To all you Republicans and Independents at the record making caucus, Hillary says Idaho won’t elect a Democrat for president. Sounds like a challenge to me. I’m thinking both parties in Idaho are kind of sick of being taken for granted by DC politicians and y’all need a wake up call.

  4. I doubt Texas is going to vote for a Democrat in the general, yet Clinton is trying pretty hard in that state for for a bunch of “second-class” delegates.
    Too bad they didn’t actually research the Texas primary until yesterday, because they just figured out that she is probably going to lose the delegate race there.
    Must admit I don’t mind Clinton, it is her crew of Mark “union buster” Penn, Terry McAuliffe, and now Joel Ferguson I can’t stand.
    Mark Penn was the first to call any state Clinton didn’t win “insignificant”.

  5. Well it’s a sure bet those red state and little state and insignificant state voters will never again vote for a Clinton campaign,and I’m going to assume that the millions of voters in the states she claims to have won don’t count either…. but look out Hillary here comes “a tsunami of change.” Yes we can!!!!!

  6. Obama wasn’t my first choice. Bill Richardson was, and I was very sad to see him go. I support Obama now because I consider him the best candidate still standing. I think he’s a hell of a speaker, I think he’ll make a good president, but I for one don’t entirely buy into the whole “movement” thing.

    The key difference here is Obama’s campaign is not making a conscious effort to deride large sections of the country as “unimportant” or “second-class.” Clinton’s campaign is. I take very strong exception to that. Anyone who’s even remotely concerned about bringing the country together should be upset as well.

    If Clinton wants to prove to the country she’s ready to lead, she should set an example by putting a stop to this right now, apologize, and dump Mark Penn, Terry McAuliffe and Joel Ferguson post haste. I think it would do her a lot of good.

    But until then, I’d say she’s become persona non grata in this state at least.

  7. W. Lane Startin, you mirror every one of my sentiments. I’d punch Mark Penn in the face if I saw him in a dark alley. Richardson is a good dude.
    Also, I have no illusions about the whole movement thing, but at this point I am going to vote Obama if for no other reason but because I wouldn’t mind hearing his voice. I am so sick of a President who mangles the English language. It is pathetic that the wingers all bash on people “won’t learn the language” and they worship someone who can’t learn his native tongue.
    They rip on Obama for his lack of experience too don’t they? Bush’s experience was insider trading and he still failed his businesses; most of their movements leaders are nepotism hires. They aren’t very self reflective are they?

  8. Hillary just re-affirmed my feelings that after 20 years of two families ruling this country we don’t need another 8 years of an administration not giving a damn about Idaho. For that matter no more Yale alums for a while.

  9. Truth hurts, doesn’t it? Will old Cece do more than bluster to help Idaho Dems get elected? He hasn’t in the past….