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Sunday Show Wrap-Up

4:10 PM, Mar 2, 2008 • By SONNY BUNCH
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On Fox News Sunday, Karl Rove explained why John McCain had to distance himself from the conservative radio host who tried to use Barack Obama's name against him. "Using his middle name helps Obama, it doesn't hurt him," he noted, adding "I think people look at it and say ‘hey look, that's one step too far.' You're trying to leave an implication that he's a Muslim when I know he is not. A lot of times attacks in politics fail--in fact, they turn into a negative for the person who's doing the attacking--because people think it's gone too far. And this, frankly, goes too far." That's not to say Obama's untouchable, however; Rove pointed to one possible area of attack going forward: "Now, having ties to Louis Farrakhan and his anti-Semitic comments, that's a reasonable question."

The Democratic primary isn't quite over yet, but we're nearing the end. Regardless of who wins the remaining states, the math makes Obama the prohibitive favorite going forward. Mike Murphy laid out the weakness of the Democrats' system of apportioning delegates compared to the Republican counterpart on Meet the Press:

"The great irony here is the Democrats have this kind of Mr. Nice Guy delegate system of proportional delegates. So even if she starts winning primaries, it's hard to win big enough to get the delegate advantage. We Republicans like these sudden-death, winner-takeall--because we're mean. That's why I joined up. We're all social Darwinists. And if they had had winner-take-all primaries in California and New York like the Republicans do, the vast right-wing conspiracy, she'd be in front and hard to beat right now."

(Murphy also suggested Tom Ridge as a potential VP for John McCain. You heard it here first, though not everybody likes the idea.)

Because it's exceptionally unlikely Clinton can win the primary fair and square, the Clintons must decide whether it's worth tearing the party apart to get the nomination. Matt Dowd warned against such a course on This Week. Whoever is "leading on pledged delegates, the party has to unite, the Democratic party has to unite behind that person. Because Barack Obama is the one that has motivated the voters in this country right now that the Democratic party needs to sort of establish a sense of leadership going forward. That's the younger voters in this country that haven't turned out in years gone by, and if the Clinton machine puts the screws on and is allowed to take the nomination because they've gone against the rules or gone against what the voters said, then your ability to motivate those voters in the fall" disappears. And that, Dowd added, "is John McCain's dream."

And let us close with a remembrance of William F. Buckley, delivered by Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer. He ended the show by recalling his first meeting with the conservative giant, when the two shared the stage of a seminar panel.

"I was a young reporter and he was, well, William F. Buckley. He said something. I took immediate and sharp exception. Suddenly I realized I had picked a fight with one of America's keenest intellects, maybe the best debater in America. In a word, I was terrified. I was certain he would shred my argument to pieces, and me along with it. But he let me down gently. He made his point, but with that twinkle in the eye that was so much a part of him. He actually left the impression my point may have been worth making. He was interested in ideas, not in tearing down those who didn't see it his way on some particular point. He delighted in taking on people his own size, but he saw no need that day to embarrass some kid who was just starting out."