The race for the Democratic nomination is about to enter uncharted waters – 41 days without a contest and no obvious events looming that could change the dynamics of this race.
(Luckily for those wanting breaking news, Eliot Spitzer's resignation provided 48 hours of salacious headlines, details and shifts in the superdelegate count.)
We are looking at a long stretch between now and the Pennsylvania primary – a stretch that will be notable for the inevitable dozens of dueling conference calls, surrogates detouring from talking points, and the campaigns' delegate trackers and reporters obsessing over those 300 or so uncommitted superdelegates
But one wild card that could make things a little more interesting as we head into spring – what to do about Michigan and Florida.
Hillary Clinton said today that the voters in those states are in peril of being excluded, ABC News' Eloise Harper reports, and called on Barack Obama to join her to make sure the votes there "count."
Watch the video HERE.
"The nearly two and a half million Americans in those two states who participated in the primary elections are in danger of being excluded from our democratic process and I think that is wrong," Clinton said.
Of course it's in Clinton's interest to seat those delegates, because she won both states and her campaign feels confident that she has enough support there to win a re-do election.
But over in Obama-land, they are singing a different tune. ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports that on a conference call with reporters today, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe all but ruled out the possibility, in their minds, of a mail-in vote in Florida and Michigan.
Plouffe outlined three options their campaign could see working:
-- A caucus. (Oh boy wouldn't they love a caucus!)
-- A full primary, which would come with considerable cost (about $8-10 million according to some estimates)
-- Some seating of the delegates "not based solely on the outcome of their elections" which Plouffe called the "easiest option" and follows Chris Dodd's suggestion of a 50-50 split of the delegates (even though Obama was not even on the Michigan ballot). This option looks like the best scenario for Obama – no do-over fights and delegates for nothing.
But that third option would mean that this fight rages on until July because the only way a 50-50 split of delegates could come about is if the DNC's credentials committee signs off on it.
It's interesting to consider how the narrative of the race may change if FL and MI were to come back into play. The economy would clearly be the focal point for both campaigns in Michigan and exit polls continue to show that it's the most important issue to Democratic voters. Yet today, both the Clinton and Obama campaigns spent the day pushing the candidates' ability to deal with national security concerns as president. Perhaps using the six week lull to start to lay the groundwork for the general election narrative against John McCain?
First up was Obama with a press conference in Chicago where he was flanked by seven generals and three admirals and not only promoted his own national security credentials, but also criticized Clinton for attacking his experience.
"Don't tell me that the decision to go to war was just a speech," Obama said, countering the notion that his candidacy was based on his 2002 speech when he was in the Illinois legislature. "Because it was far more than that to the men and women who have served – and continue to serve heroically in Iraq."
The Clinton campaign would not let that stand as the last word and held a conference call with military leaders who touted Clinton's experience as both a senator and a former First Lady as evidence that she is up to the task of being commander-in-chief.
Vice Admiral and current Pennsylvania Congressman Joseph Sestak argued that Sen. Clinton's knowledge and willingness to listen as a reason for supporting her candidacy. As he put it, "Amateurs do tactics; experts do logistics."
Major General Paul Eaton put it, "This lady is brave. She's had a lot thrown at her and she has been very graceful under fire. She is steady in this battle and she is extraordinarily bright. That's a formula that soldiers love."
On the campaign trail. . .
-- 1:45 pm ET: Attends employee forum with voters, Harrisburg, PA
-- 2:45 pm ET: Holds media availability, Harrisburg, PA
As for the Democrats. . .
-- 1:00 pm ET: Attends town hall meeting with voters, Monaca, PA
-- Attends to Senate duties, Washington, DC
-- Attends event in Abington, PA
-- Attends event in Ardmore, PA
-- Attends event in Villanova, PA
At the White House. . .
-- 1:15 pm ET: Meets with the Chairman of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, Washington, DC
FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH
-- 8:35 am ET: Arrives at Port-au-Prince, Haiti
-- 9:20 am ET: Photo opportunity with President Rene Preval, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
-- 9:45 am ET: Visits the GHESKIO HIV/AIDS Center, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
-- 12:05 pm ET: Visits with students in the IDEJEN Program, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
-- 1:10 pm ET: Depart airport en route to Mexico City, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
-- 4:45 pm ET: Attends reception in honor of outstanding women, Mexico City, Mexico
POLITICAL NEWS STORIES AT ABCNEWS.COM
ABC News' Brian Ross and Richard Esposito Report: Spitzer Resigns; White Knight Tarnished by Prostitution Scandal LINK
ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: Time on Her Side: Obama Maintains Lead, but Clinton Might Have the Edge LINK
ABC News' Jennifer Parker and Olivia Sterns Report: Ferraro Defends Comments: Obama Is Where He Is Because He's Black LINK
ABC News' Eloise Harper and Sunlen Miller Report: Clinton, Obama Battle Over Florida, Michigan Solution LINK
ABC News' Jonathan Karl Reports: Pentagon Report on Saddam's Iraq Censored? LINK
ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf Reports: Mr. Smith Takes a Rest? Democrats Eye Senate Supermajority LINK
ABC News' Teddy Davis and Talal Al-Khatib Report: AFL-CIO Rips McCain as 'Bush 3' LINK
ABC News' Sarah Amos Reports: Bill Clinton: All These 'Paranoid' People 'Scream at Me Everywhere' LINK
ABC News' Jake Tapper Reports: Pelosi Endorses LINK
ABC News' Gary Langer Reports: Iraq and AQ: Suspicion vs. Belief LINK
POLITICAL VIDEO AT ABCNEWS.COM
N.Y. Governor Steps Down
Amid prostitution scandal, Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigns from office. LINK
Spitzer Calls It Quits
In the midst of prostitution scandal, the New York governor resigns from office. LINK
Clinton Pushes Obama on Unseated Delegates
Clinton to Florida and Michigan voters: "We should count your vote." LINK
Hasselbeck: Ladies, Give Your Guys Sex
The Eliot Spitzer scandal leads "The View" to discuss the needs of men. LINK
Letterman's Sharp Words for Spitzer
The late-night funnyman gets serious as he rails against the governor. LINK
Rice Hearing Interrupted by 'Bloody' Hands
Code Pink protesters sit in on a Capitol Hill hearing with Secretary Rice. LINK
Ferraro: 'Taken Out of Context'
The former vice presidential candidate defends her comments on sex and race. LINK
Obama Addresses Race Remarks
The Illinois senator responds to controversy stirred up by Geraldine Ferraro. LINK
Spitzer Pressured to Resign
Will the New York governor fight the prostitution case or take a plea deal? LINK
Scandalized Mayor Blasts the Press
Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick ripped opponents for enflaming text-message scandal. LINK
Speculating Spitzer's Next Move
Will New York's Governor step down or hang tough amid a prostitution scandal? LINK
Obama Wins Mississippi
The Democratic candidate wins the delegates of another Deep South state. LINK
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