Transcript: Live chat with Andrew Malcolm

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Administrator2: Folks, we're here with our own Andrew Malcolm of Top of the Ticket. Welcome Andrew!

Administrator2: Do you folks have predictions for today's primary and the upcoming ones? Share them with Andrew!

Administrator2: Let's get going!

Andrew Malcolm: We really try to avoid predictions on The Ticket. Our job more to inform and dialogue with loyal readers. But Don did an item this morning pointing out a jump in Hillary's numbers which, if it turns into votes today, could give her that big boost she might need to keep this a race. Don suggests 1-5% is an ok win, 5-10 pretty good and anything abv 10% is a wow for her. Latest poll suggested 10 from a surge among white Catholic men. So much to watch for tonight.

pennfever: Do you think Hillary's "a win is a win" comment is genuine? If she wins by, say, 5% in Penn is it all over and she just won't admit it yet?

Andrew Malcolm: Wel, she's got to say a winis a win and Obama said what he's got to say, which is I don't expect a win. Theyre trying to set the best expectations for themselves. That way O's people can claim a "win" even if he's just "close" and if she gets a 4% margin, she cheers anyway.

pennfever: And, follow up, is there a magic percentage that makes it worth Clinton's while to stay in the race? Or is any win enough for her?

Andrew Malcolm: No, if she wins in Pa I think she stays in the race. What's the pt of quitting now from her pt odf view. Huckabee did the same thing in GOP race. Til someone has the magic number it's still a race. And we and she has seen in recent days that under pressure O has made some gaffes. The more gaffes, the more she has to pt to for the superdelegates to say i'm more reliable in the genl.

scooscott: Does PA use all electronic machines? Are there verified paper trails anywhere in the state?

pennfever: Thanks!

Andrew Malcolm: You know, I don't know if it's all machine. Been so long since I spent an eternity driving across that place.

arthur: when do we get results?

Andrew Malcolm: Well, if it's a blowout I imagine pretty soon after 4 Pacific time or 7 Eastern. They'll know to trust their exit polls. Reality is the campaigns have known since late last night if theyre gonna win or lose. The only question left is the margin. Thats what happened in NH in 00. Karl Rove knew the night before, Bush wud lose. And at bfast on election day he said probly by 15 pts. The end was 19%. Pretty bad. But like pros they were prepared and had their SC backup plan in place to start the next morning. Partof Hillary's problem she didn't have a real plan for after Super Tues cause they thought it wud be over then. Ooops.

Madison: Are delegates awarded proportionately in PA or is it a winner take all primary?

Administrator2: Hey chatters, if you've asked a question and haven't seen it in the chat room yet, don't worry-- they're not lost, just trying to give Andrew time to type his answers before we throw the next question at him. :)

scooscott: Their smear McCain push-polling back-up plan? :)

scooscott: That was part of their "pro" back up plan?

Andrew Malcolm: Oh no the Dems have settled on proportionate. Everyone has to go home with something. As we posted the other day the greedy GOP does winner take all. So they've got their guy in decisive wins and he;s off on the genl already. Part of the lingering price I think for the Dems from their antiwar wing and the violence of the 68 convention. They try to make everyone at least a little happy. Now they face a very unhappy losing wing at some pt. Why politics is so fascinating.

Madison: thanks, Andrew.

Nathalie: how much do you think daytime media coverage influences how post-work voters decide to vote?

Andrew Malcolm: Well, I don;'t know anything abt a smear connection to Bush. But they did have a plan for what to do and what to emphasize the next 3 wks. And imptly they had the money to do it. McCain as we posted last week hates fundraising and weve seen that again this yr. And that can leave you with less ammo than the other guy when the crunch comes

Andrew Malcolm: Good question. Probly impt for some sectors who have a chance to watch tv during the day,. but i think the genl media impressions are pretty well formed by now. the polls showed undecideds dwindling and in many earlier primaries the late undecideds have gone toward Clinton. O's recent gaffes may add to that. or he may still be ateflon kind of guy. commenters on the blog who like him show no signs of enthusiasm waning

Seth: Huckabee, for once, did the gracious thing when the writing was on the wall. He didn't do the "same thing" as Hillary. Even a guy who doesn't believe in evolution knew when to quit. Why doesn't Hillary?

Andrew Malcolm: Because she still thinks she can win. If O does not have enough delegates to win the nom, why shud she quit. Huckabee only quit once McCain got to 1190. You don't see many times not trying to score even when theres 3 mins left and theyre down by a bunch. NYG didn't quit in the super bowl and look what happened.

barackthevote: does anyone know the current results of the primary?

barackthevote: she obviouslyhas some sort of heavy investment in becoming president

barackthevote: she's hanging on tooth and nail for seems to be very selfish / personal benefits

Seth: Well, to be fair, overtime in the Super Bowl still involves playing the game - not paying off refs to start calling touchdowns for your team.

Andrew Malcolm: Well I hope so for $160 million and basically 18 mths or more of her life. Who wants a quitter? O's side wud like it but she's pushing him and as he says making him better. this is a marathon and theyre each getting better by the day thru the competition.

barackthevote: no i see all that. just saying it seems very desperate

barackthevote: does anyone know where i can get real time results of this primary

scooscott: You can't

barackthevote: or are none of the precincts allowed to post results until its done?

scooscott: not till polls are closed

Andrew Malcolm: Well, I guess I disagree. Whatever her reasons she's still competing which is her right even if O is the eventual winner. you know those are the rules the party of both of them set up so they play by them.

andy: Obama '08!

Andrew Malcolm: funny you shud ask abt result. Real time pa election results are available thru Top of the Ticket starting today. Go to our item this morning and sign uop for our Ticket Twitter feed. You'll get them all night from us hot off the news wire that everybody uses.

scooscott: What is the percentage of undecideds today?

barackthevote: i know. she does have every right. jus saying it seems quite desperate. what with the smearing campaing and all. campaigning like a republican using fear tactics

Andrew Malcolm: Don't know. Last I saw varied from 6-8

Seth: I find it sad that baby boomers who rocked the Democratic Party in the 60s and 70s are refusing my generation the same turnover in influence and ideas (from ideologies to superdelegates)

andy: How can Hillary continue to stay in the race with 10million in debt?

pennfever: wow, is it up to $10 mil, really?

barackthevote: good point seth.

Andrew Malcolm: well gee the world is surprised that the clintons play hardball? i really cant blame them. politics as they say isnt beanbag. and frankly this is all grt practice for the fall whomever wins on the D side. Expensive but good.

barackthevote: i like the idea of not playing ball, like the bullies in school played dodge ball. there are other ways to win. and i'd vote for noble people of the other any day

Andrew Malcolm: Excellent pt! Money is crucial. If she wins big tonight, she shud get a financial boost from folks waiting to see if she can. but if she doesn't that cud be the clincher. O has clrly forced her to spend more in Pa than she wanted on TV ads, which cut into her lead it seems. More imptly it used up moreof her money which she probly won't have now for Ind and NC.

pennfever: Do you see any chance Obama could pull out a win today?

pennfever: Like, an actual win, not a tactical "we came closer than people thought" win?

Andrew Malcolm: According to all the nos, don't see O winning. But thats why they actually count the votes is to see what happens. He's not been strong in the heartland outside his home state, got killed in Ohio and Pa much the same. Just as she has not done well in caucuses.

barackthevote: you dont have to hurt people playing ball

pennfever: Hmmm...interesting.

andy: It being Earth Day and all, which candidate would Gaia, earth mother, endorse?

Seth: I can safely answer that. Mother Earth would endorse Kucinich, then try to mack on his wife. (Gaia's got two poles, if you catch my drift)

Andrew Malcolm: Well, I played football and have a son who plays hockey. And the pt may not be to hurt, but it is to intimidate and to force your will against an opponent with the same goal. It's called competition. Don't have much sympathy for those who say, "she's hitting back or playing rough." What did u expect?

Page: I do not understand how each news channel has a different delegate count for the two dem candidates

Seth: Andrew, it is all about the dust storm or the mud pit, and the Clintons are the stars of the pen. I think many other Obama supporters expected that "positive" energy to extend to his candidates. Some expected that Obama himself wouldn't go negative either.

Andrew Malcolm: I wud pay only casual attention to the delegate count right now, like a poll far in advance. just watch the genl trend. and some supers have changed and others are watching pa. he's ahead but not in control

Seth: *by candidates I mean that Obama's supporters irrationally expected Hillary to be nicer

Seth: But I also think it's irrational for Hillary's team to expect Barack to implode the moment he's called on gaffes. Unless he starts hallucinating sniper fire too, I don't see that happening.

andy: Is it just me or is the media depicting every state as "Ohio" now? We really need a national primary ... sigh

Andrew Malcolm: yeh well don't be naive. chicago politics isn't bean bag neither is arkansas. if you're competing against some who play hard or dirty u need to step up. O did not inthe early debates and he paid for it and got better until the last one. he's got to show more grit under pressure. he hasnt really been under pressure. so clinton is putting some on and we'll see how he handles it. but to think an y candidate can coast along abv the fray is dreamland. O is playing just as hard to win, he just packages it better and doesnt yet have the clinton rep

barackthevote: to each his own.

Andrew Malcolm: wel we'll see abt O's endurance. last debate was a mess. San Fran fundraiser was bad news twice. he has not really been examined as closely over the yrs because he's not been arnd that long. so the scrutiny has started and will only get tuffer, as it shud. these campaigns are long exams and amer people don't watch every day but they do get genl impressions, the lge nos. who are not evengelical abt their candidate alrdy

Administrator2: Hey folks, we've got a backlog of questions-- sorry! Will try to get to them all as soon as we can. Thanks!

Andrew Malcolm: I don't like natl primaries. Every area/state has its own needs and interests and state primaries force candidates to go learn abt each starte's prioritiies and to take that experience with them. they also bec better spkrs, thinks on their feet, absorbers of vast infom, handling pressures. u shud see backstage before adebate. u can cut the pressure.

andy: Andrew, I havn't read your blog so I don't know if you brought up the ABC Debate - what did you think about the first 45min?

Seth: So what did you think of the ABC debate, Andrew? I thought the questions were pitiful and the piling-on by Hill equally tacky, but I think Obama went smooth when he should've gone sharp.

barackthevote: if the tone of both campaigns are summed up to Fear Monger vs. Hope monger (which they easily could) it's a matter of what you choose to put your faith in. i choose the latter

barackthevote: yes. yes this process is good. but it also shows true character.

Andrew Malcolm: It looked to me like the first time some questioners really put some pressure on O who despite his fans feelings has not really hasd much negative scrutiny,. No one is going to accept the Whit Ayres business for example without a fuller explanation. O may not like that but thats part of the price. if candidates start complaining abt areas of inquiry other than their underwear that's a sign of defensiveness and only makes the dogs dig deeper as they shud

barackthevote: presiding over a country should never be just politics.

Andrew Malcolm: Yeh sorry I don't buy the hope bs fear business. any candidate tries to find a theme a bio portrait that suits their strengths and negates their weaknesses. No one shud get elected on a sweet tongue tho that can help. UI think whining makes voters suspicious. I've seen so many candidates who were candidates of hope over 40 yrs, i'm pretty much charismaed-out. thats all packaging and we've seen that opver and over as much as their fans want to see only the hope in the beginning.

Andrew Malcolm: Make that hope VS fear.

andy: I'm not familiar with Pennsylvanian Democrats. Are they like Californian democrats? Or more conservative, moderate or liberal?

Seth: But they turned up the heat on all the back burners! The big complaint I hear about Obama is a lack of policy specificity. You can whine about Obama hanging with folks Bubba pardoned all you want, but how this benefits Hillary at all is beyond me.

Andrew Malcolm: Penna has a mix. Phila liberal urban abt half Af Amer. Pittsburgh less Af Am. Big middle -- called the T tho it's a vague resemblance of small hardhit towns that are conserv Dem, Reagan Democrats that probly did not take kindly to O's remarks in San Fran. And what an awful place to say that, a mansion full of W Coast liberals.

pennfever: Months into this campaign, I'm inclined not to believe polls at all. Is there one I should trust?

barackthevote: someone who uses fear tactics to win an election will use it again to further themselves. when have we seen THAT before?

andy: I liked Michael Moore's official endorsement of Obama yesterday, that he represents a movement, and I agree with this notion. Change or bust.

Andrew Malcolm: yeh well i'm afraid everything is politics. you don't ask your parents for something when theyre angry abt you being late last night. politics is life. it's everywhere. some are good at it others not. some aren't and blame politics not themselves. but we all do it. and theni think we transpose some of that onto our public figures

andy: P.S I have no healthcare, wtf?

pennfever: Oh, I missed that! Did Moore endorse Obama? I guess that's to be expected though...

Andrew Malcolm: O is counting on the movement aspect. it seems to have waned somewhat the more scrutiny he gets beyond huge rallies with women fainting in the front row. those in it feel like a movement, a real sense of commujnity tho it's hard in the middle of the game to think of the opposing side as a community with the same pride, drive, competitiveness etc. Democracy as I think Churchill said is the worst form of govt except for all the others. it certainly is messy and esply messy in Amer which allows 2 yr campaigns

andy: The OpEd piece in the LATimes about being close-minded reminded me of the Clinton supporters vs. Obama supporters

barackthevote: he is a strong person / candidate whether he fights the way we expect him to

Andrew Malcolm: right. and the same cud be said on the other side i'm sure. rush limbaugh not very open to talking good abt mccain for example. we really do need to force ourselves to bwe more open. instead of just changing the channel. we pick sides and dont want to hear anything contrary. too early for that

Seth: Andrew, inconvenient location aside, do you honestly think he was wrong? Bitterness and clinging to God and guns are the only concepts that at all elucidate the sludge of the last 7 years for me.

barackthevote: well, it pretty much comes down to policy, then character. they've all dispayed this so far. its' not too early now

barackthevote: those who i'd really like aren't even an option any more, sadly.

Andrew Malcolm: the problem with his statement was not bitter. it was cling. that is a very elitist Ivy League view of the world looking down your nose at people who actually believe in religion or enjoy hunting or skeet shooting or whatever. think it was howard dean yday who said dems need to go after the folks with gunracks in their pickups. that'll be as much a chore for dems as swinging over lge nos of black is for the party of lincoln.

andy: In my opinion, Obama represents the American Dream. My parents were born in Mexico, sacrificed and worked hard. This past month I've received acceptance letters from every University of California, and because of Obama's bio I've decided to go to law school after undergrad.

andy: Andrew, what are you going to do with your tax rebate? :]

andy: Hillary's new ad: "Jobs, jobs, jobs!" My new ad: "Change, change, change!"

Andrew Malcolm: As usual, I save 10-20% and put the rest toward some cost, most likely my son's hockey this coming season. How abt you?

Administrator2: Folks, Andrew needs to head out soon to cover the primary-- so send any final questions now!

andy: Buy a tank of gas.

andy: Har har.

Andrew Malcolm: Here's one for you guys. Sounds like you like O. If it's Hillary in the end,. wud u still vote Dem? And vice versa for any Hillary backers out there.

andy: is your son interested in politics? is talk at dinner time "political"?

barackthevote: yes i WOULD still vote dem. that argument is ridiculous and i hear it everywhere.


andy: Yeah, I think Dems have their panties in a bunch, but eventually they would come around and be logical

Seth: I think the clear narrative of this is that people want a change, some change, pocket change. How can we expect a shift in attitudes when it's the same dynastic figureheads coming in and out of office, and the same party talking points that fizzle away when the mud starts to fly? What can Democrats do to take the language of politics back from the GOP?

Seth: As a 23 year old gay man, I would hate myself for doing it, but I would vote for hillary. I will never vote for a Republican as long as I live and am allowed to vote. But Hillary is equally warhawkish, and it pains me. But at least she's not senile. Yet

Andrew Malcolm: No I've got 3 sons. I have shared my views with the younger one and he'll make up his own. The older ones are out and goneI think one thinks like me and theo ther doesn't. But we don;'t talk abt it much to avoid disagreements.

pennfever: Yes, I'd vote for whichever Dem.

andy: i'm surprised michael j fox hasn't endorsed anyone, or has he?

Andrew Malcolm: Longterm think the Dems need to work on being ID less with univ types and more with real folks, which is why the bitter qte hurts. It seems like a contradiction of what O has been saying and fits in w/ Hillary's working class crowd.

Seth: His endorsements are shaky at best.

pennfever: ha, seth!

Andrew Malcolm: Whose endorsements?

Seth: Andrew, I think you're buying the GOP line that college educated people aren't "real people."

Seth: That's reverse elitism.

andy: sadly, the more educated one is, the more liberal one is. and 'no child left behind' has left 51% of this country without common sense :/

andy: (joke)

barackthevote: good retort Seth!

Andrew Malcolm: as a college educated i still wud know a little abt say country music which it;'s hard to picture say Kerry line dancing in nashville. and he and huckabee both looked goofy carrying their dead goose or duck

Administrator2: Andrew, of all the candidates (any party), who do you think has run the most effective campaign? Or, if you'd rather...who's made the fewest blunders?

Andrew Malcolm: well theyre all human and will make mistakes. and we'kll write abt them and the public will judge. hillary had a bunch early on. O more recently. McC's made some but wehen u look at where he was last summer and whats hes done so far, anyone's gotta be impressed. vbut his mistake is fundraising. he hates it and isn't good at it esply small donors that turn your cause into a movement like o because now they each have a $ investment in cheering and voting too.

Seth: I'm just chagrined to live in a country where you have to line dance to prove you could run the free world. Thanks for the fun Andrew, I'm out.

barackthevote: may the better man / woman win. regardless of politics or campaigning

Andrew Malcolm: Hey, this has been great. We'll do it again. Now let's all switch over to the Ticket blog where Don and I will be going all night. And don't forget to sign up for the blog Twitter.

Andrew Malcolm: Also to learn how to kline-dance if you want to look like you could be normal or ID with such voters.

Administrator2: Thank you all for coming to the chat, and thank you Andrew! Should be an interesting day for you and The Ticket!

pennfever: Thank you Andrew!

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