The Daily Rundown | February 29, 2012
>>> well, remember, it's still about delegates, the race for gathering them is on winning primaries and caucuses matter, but at the end of the day it's how many delegates you have that counts. mitt romney has six states in his win column, rick santorum , four, newt gingrich has one, south carolina , ron paul hasn't won a single event. but let's look at the all-important delegate race, 2,286 delegates available and a candidate needs 1,144 to win. romney has 126, rick santorum , 27, and ron paul despite not winning a single primary or caucus has 11. how is that possible? because delegates aren't always awarded immediately and when they are they are often rewarded proporti proportionally, south carolina gave gingrich 23 of its 29 delegates. there are four races left that are 100% winner take all, that's it is, for the total of 123 delegates available so it's still a long way to go to the magic number of 1,144. the biggest haul comes next week on super tuesday, 424 delegates at stake. and as you can see, there's some big ones . it's going to be fascinating, for instance, you watch in ohio where you have to do it by congressional district . rick santorum doesn't have delegate slates in three of ohio's congressional districts so he can win the state and he's almost guaranteed to lose the delegate battle there. after super tuesday there are four other key days we're keeping an eye on with big delegate numbers attached to them. days when a large number of them up for grabs, april 3rd when 92 are available, d.c., maryland, wisconsin, april 24th , 150 delegates, connecticut, delaware, new york, pennsylvania, and rhode island . may 8th , 107 delegates with races in indiana, north carolina , and west virginia . the biggest stay after supertoips's june 5th when a chopping 264 delegates are available including 169 in california, and i didn't even talk whenever texas is and we're still wondering when their states could be. other dates on the calendar that we do care about, 47 delegates, march 10th , 84 on march 13th , 25 may 15th, 75 on may 22nd . in recent years the republican front runner could usually score a quick knockout because the majority of primary and caucuses took place in the opening weeks of the election year, but this year the calendar is very different. it's spread out a little more than usual. fewer states participating on super tuesday, just ten, and this one could actually take until june until we actually mathematically get there.
>>> with me now, the man that did all the counting for president obama in 2008 , and he's author of a book, i can't wait to finish reading, i have started it "the magic number , inside obama's chase for the presidential nomination ." jeff berman , i've outed you publicly as one of our great sources for the delegate battle of 2008 of obama and clinton. by the way, i want to update folks, and you'll love this, jeff, in michigan , right now we have two congressional districts uncomaw uncalled there are 30 delegates at stake, they split statewide of 2, the other 28 divide up by congressional district . of the 14, 12 we've called, six for santorum , six for romney , two uncalled. romney leads by 60 votes in one. santorum leads by 40 votes in the other. it's still possible that santorum gets more delegates. jeff, you look at what the republicans have done this year and it looks an awful lot like what you guys had to do four years ago.
>> that's right. that's right. it's interesting that you mentioned this close race in the delegates in michigan , that reminds me of nevada, chuck. you probably remember nevada four years ago, where hillary did win in the local precinct delegates in the caucuses, but president obama won in terms of the delegates to the national convention , producing a split decision . and so we may yet see a split decision in michigan .
>> let me ask you this, when you went through this, and there's certain things about the republican race that's actually different. so, for instance, on pockets nights you guys knew how many delegates you had won. on these caucus nights, only the way the republicans -- they don't allocate anything that could even be attributed to a delegate. they seem to do it a little -- explain the differences as you understand them.
>> sure. sure. in the democratic system , delegates are allocated to presidential candidates , any candidate receiving more than 15% of the vote would get a proportional share. in the republican contest, the rules are much looser. and basically in many of these states , the voters don't know it, but when they go to caucus night, a lot of times the delegates that are elected to the next round of caucusing, programs the county con perhaps the county conventions, may not reflect the references at the first tier. when they get to the state convention, they can decide are we going to be winner take all or proportional or something in between. different states do it differently.
>> you know, one of the other things that when we were going through this and when there was all this hand wringing about a white knight for the republicans that might jump in, it struck me that, boy, there is a -- the republicans have a lot of what they call unbound delegates. meaning, that even when you win -- so, for instance, in iowa, the delegates that you win -- and you don't actually get them until the state convention -- they're never bound even on the first ballot at the convention which seemed to me a potentially scary prospect if you are one of the actual candidates running if somebody else jumped in. how do the democrats bound? what is it that makes it more legally bound than what you guys did four years ago?
>> well, it's actually a little-known secret that no democratic delegate is ever bound to vote by law or against their conscience. so, any democratic delegate at the national convention is technically free under the rules to vote as they see fit. of course, the way we do it, we select our delegates and the presidential candidates have input, and we make sure those delegates that go to the national convention are loyal to the candidate.
>> when you -- how did you -- when you did that loyalty oath or what did you do? did you guys have a process? did you interview these folks, what is it that made you say, okay, do you know what, they'll be there, there's no way that the clintons are going to be able to pry this person away from us?
>> typically the way we did the slating in the states is we would work with our local supporters in the states to select the delegates, but i reviewed every list for every state to make sure that i was comfortable with the folks who were going. i might not have known them, but i asked the right questions to make sure.
>> you know, this fight for delegates to get to a convention, i have to ask, it does make the electoral college seem sane. and actually more so. is this any way to nom -- is this any way for a political party to nominate its presidential candidate ?
>> well, i'll tell you, the presidential nomination system we have is one that has evolved over time . it is somewhat chaotic at times. i would say that both of the national parties try to make improvements for 2012 . we still have some issues. when florida moved up and jumped ahead of all of the other states to go early, that led, of course, michigan and arizona to go early. and we also have four caucus states who moved ahead of the voting which is supposed to start on super tuesday. so, we still have some issues in maintaining the order of the process. but it's the only process we have, and really we should be focused both of the parties on improving what we have. because really at this point there is no other alternative.
>> all right, jeff berman , the author of the book "the magic number " if you're a junkie, it's a fun read. it was quite the boiler room . what was amazing, of course, was that your opponent didn't have an equal to you. jeff berman , nice to see you, sir.