The Return of the ‘Triple Bank Shot’?

Apr 30, 2007 4:05am

ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: In Monday’s Washington Post, Clinton strategist Mark Penn makes the case for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-N.Y., electability by arguing that Ohio and Florida are “both states that she could take” based on her support among women and Latinos, adding, "you won’t have to go any further on the map."

Penn’s Electoral College math is spot on and one that is supported by University of Maryland Prof. Thomas Schaller in his new book, "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South."

It will be interesting, however, to see if the Clinton camp is criticized for being so open about its thread-the-needle electoral strategy.

When Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was competing for the Democratic presidential nomination in January of 2004, he drew heat from then-Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., his future running mate, and other southern Democrats, for saying, "Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South" during a town hall meeting at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. "Al Gore proved he could have been president of the United States without winning one Southern state, including his own."

Penn’s comment is different from Kerry’s, of course, in that he has included the vote-rich state of Florida, which falls below the Mason-Dixon line, as a target along with the Midwestern state of Ohio.

But even though Florida is in the South, it is often viewed as not being of the South, because of its large number of northern transplants, and Democratic candidates who have talked about targeting only Florida from the South have been known to receive scorn from some southern Democrats.

One southern governor who used to criticize his fellow Democrats for picking nominees who could expect to win only 16 Blue States and then hope, just maybe, for the "triple bank shot" that might deliver Ohio or Florida, is former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.

When he was laying the groundwork to run for president in 2004, he used to make the case for himself by arguing that Democrats needed a standard-bearer who could compete everywhere.

Although his name is often floated as potential vice presidential material, Warner ultimately decided not to run for president in 2008 citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

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