Political Capital with John Harwood

Obama, Clinton: Your Emails On The Clash Between Them

Time once again to share your mail, and answer some of yours messages. Thanks for writing, and keep 'em coming.

From Patty:
"Geraldine Ferraro basically called Senator Obama Senator Edwards.  Is that such an insult?  I hasten to add that I believe that if Senator Clinton's preacher of 20 plus years was advocating singing "God Damn America," believed that we brought 911 on ourselves and was spouting the other hate that tapes for sale on the church's own web site indicate, that Eliot Spitzer's incident would be gone.  Instead, we see articles about his wife, his daughters, and the young hooker.  Can we see some equal coverage here, please?  When did American turn into "No Country for White Women?"

Patty: Do you really think America has turned into "No Country for White Women?" I don't. Geraldine Ferraro's remarks about Barack Obama drew such an intense reaction because they served to diminish his success; link a dismissive attitude with race, and you have the potential for a combustible reaction that Ferraro as an experience national politician had every reason to expect.

From Andrew:
"Our country is being faced with its biggest public showdown of race and gender politics. As the the most basic and fundamental social polling, are we more "comfortable" with a white woman or a black man as our country's leader? And, will a white man win regardless of whether his opponent is a white woman or a black man? Should we blame the candidates themselves, and their direct and indirect spokespersons for flaming the racial and gender fires? Absolutely!

Is Obama's campaign more inclined to not "go there" as a matter of principal, lacking relevance or letting Clinton do the damage to her own campaign? I suspect a little of each but I hope Obama's sense of principal that neither race nor gender should guide our decision (whether fear of a woman or black or compulsion to make it right by selecting a woman or black) is the new standard this country needs to believe in. Shouldn't we be more afraid of someone who will do anything (kitchen sink) to attain personal and self-satisfying goals rather than putting the greater good of this country as the primary goal? To fully reject and speak out against race and gender baiting demands that the candidates put their character on the ballot. Let's see who really has the goods."

Andrew: You are right. The country indeed is facing a showdown of race and gender politics in the clash between Obama and Clinton. I do think it important to observe, however, that the showdown is only one of many aspects of the primary campaign, and only one of many aspects of the general election. To reduce the election to those factors would have the effect of distorting their significance, and freight votes for either Democrat or for John McCain with inferences that might not be justified.

From Maria:
"I am a 36 year old woman who graduated from Smith College and I would like to say that because of Hillary Clinton's sleazy, Machiavellian tactics to win this nomination, I plan on voting for McCain should Hillary somehow pull off stealing the nomination (I actually can't believe I feel this way, but alas I do). For the record, I have never voted for a Republican and I am registered as an Independent. I DO NOT trust Hillary Clinton and find her to be the worse kind of megalomaniac. I like Obama and if he gets the nomination as he should, I will vote for him.

I am fairly certain that I am not alone in how I feel and the DNC and the super-delegates must realize that they risk losing voters like me should they nominate Hillary. In a general election that will spell DISASTER for Hillary and the Democratic party. Hillary's nomination would also galvanize the Republican base and that would mean that the small faction of disenchanted Republicans who would probably vote for Obama will most certainly vote for McCain because they hate the Clintons.

Hillary, you are a disgrace to women. If you are trying to prove you have cojones, then you are no better than Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Dubya.
A very sad and angry young feminist"

Maria: The feelings you express represent the Democratic Party's worst nightmare -- that bitterness from the primary campaign will blow the party's historic opportunity to take back the White House and swell Democratic majorities in Congress.

From Billy:
"Dear John Harwood
You are a great correspondent on CNBC. You are a great analyst on Meet the Press. CNBC is a great network. Could I get an autograph picture of you. Your fan,
Billy Keller"

Billy: You made my day! Watch your mailbox.

From Gary in Iowa:
"If Hillary is going to push for those state’s delegates to count then there should be an entirely new vote held. And she should be made to reimburse the state for the costs. The other candidates didn’t even put an effort into those states and for her to claim victory is typical of the way the Clinton’s play politics."

Gary: Because of sentiments like yours, there's tremendous pressure on Michigan and Florida to stage new contests. But it's not clear they can be arranged in time. I would say the stakes are very high except for this reality: all the states that have voted so far haven't done much to clarify the Democratic contest, so why should two more contests in these two states?

And from Danela:
"Is it just me, or does anyone else see a direct correlation between the almost $100 million raised by Hillary and Barack last month and the lack of consumer spending in the same time frame? Since the campaigns began soliciting money from the American people, the market has taken a large downturn because of low sales in all facets of daily living. If, when the campaigns are over, people begin to go the malls and car dealers and restaurants again (using the money they are currently sending to the candidates) perhaps we will see a surge.

Also, to force the elected party nominees to take another $100 million or more from tax dollars (that we don't have) seems to be yet another fiscally irresponsible position. (The Public Funding issue) Comments?????"

Danela: It's true that partisans for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been exceptionally motivated by their primary campaign. But I'd be very surprised if donors were doing without important consumer goods in order to contribute. In addition, $100-million seems a drop in the bucket of an economy the size of ours. Then again, the Democratic races could have five more months to go!

Questions?  Comments?  Write to politicalcapital@cnbc.com.