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Politics

Caucus tally takes its sweet time in Texas

By Times Wires
Published March 7, 2008


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AUSTIN, Texas

Fewer than half of Texas' voting sites had reported the results by Thursday from Democratic caucuses Tuesday night that were so chaotic and overcrowded by record turnout that police were called to some polling places. So there's no winner yet for the caucuses, the second stage of the state's Democratic primary, which allocates 67 delegates to the national convention this summer. One reason for the slow caucus count is that phoning in the results to state party officials is voluntary. As of Thursday afternoon, Sen. Barack Obama was ahead with 56 percent to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's 44 percent based on reports to state party headquarters by 41 percent of the precinct caucuses. Clinton beat Obama in the first step of Texas' contest, a standard state-run primary. Her 51 percent of the vote, compared to his 47 percent, earned her 65 delegates to his 61 delegates.

CHEYENNE, Wyo.

Yeehaw, Wyoming Democrats matter

Republicans have a more than 2-to-1 edge in voter registration in Wyoming, even 10-1 in some counties. But this year the state's Democrats, who are gearing up for presidential caucuses Saturday, might have something to roar about. Some Democrats say they have never seen a political mood swing so abrupt, from irrelevance to full kiss-kiss campaign embrace. "I have never had a period of compressed political intensity like these last 48 hours," Kathleen Karpan, a former secretary of state, said Thursday. Karpan, who supports Clinton, took a week off from a law practice to help plan for Saturday. Around the state, caucus locations are being moved from living rooms to meeting halls. In Laramie County, the most populous, Democrats reserved the Cheyenne Civic Center, which will seat up to 1,500 people for an event that in the past has drawn maybe 250.

TORONTO

Canadian aide cites NAFTA wink

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff said someone in Clinton's campaign gave Canada back-channel assurances that her harsh words about the North American Free Trade Agreement were for political show, according to the Canadian Press. The report comes days after a Canadian government memo stated Obama's senior economic adviser told Canadian officials that the Illinois senator's own comments about NAFTA were for "political positioning." The release of that memo helped Clinton defeat Obama decisively in Tuesday's Democratic primary in Ohio, where the trade treaty is unpopular. On Thursday, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said the campaign "flatly denied" the suggestion that a Clinton adviser had told Canadian officials to take the candidate's tough talk on NAFTA with "a grain of salt." Harper aide Ian Brodie did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

WASHINGTON

A humble menufor GOP champ

You've won the Republican nomination. You've been invited to the White House for lunch in the private dining room off the Oval Office. So what's on the menu? Steak? Seafood? Something French? Hot dogs. "He said he was having a hot dog, so I had a hot dog," Sen. John McCain said about his lunch with President Bush Wednesday. Are White House hot dogs different from other hot dogs? "It tasted pretty much the same to me," McCain said.

[Last modified March 7, 2008, 00:20:30]


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