When I was a barista in college, we sold a drink called Kaffe Mit Schlag, which means coffee (espresso) with whipped cream, in German. Whenever someone came in and ordered Kaffe, we always asked "Mit? or Mit Out?"
Well, now Mitt is definitely out, as Mr. Romney "suspended" his presidential campaign this week. Readers of this space shouldn't have been too surprised, since I wrote on Super Monday (the day before Super Tuesday) that if Romney didn't win the California primary, he would drop out on Wednesday, in Boston. It took him another day to do it, and he did it at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, but it was clear Romney couldn't win the Republican nomination, and as a smart investor, he knows when to cut his losses.
So now what? John McCain will be the GOP nominee - and we've got a new song about that coming up on KCBS Tuesday morning - be sure to bring your earplugs to work that day - but Mike Huckabee will hang around for a little while. Some of the conservatives will fall in line behind him as their last best hope, even though they consider Huckabee as liberal as McCain on taxes and immigration. The televangelist James Dobson, who said last week that a Clinton-McCain matchup would be the worst choice of his lifetime, so he wouldn't vote at all - has endorsed Huckabee now. The affable Arkansan will probably pick off a couple more wins in conservative states, but it won't be enough to derail the Straight Talk Express. He's angling for the vice presidential spot now, but I'm still not sure he brings enough to the party for McCain to give it to him.
On the Democratic side, Obama's definitely gaining steam, and he will gain more, because he has natural advantages in many of the states voting in the next ten days. Louisiana, DC, Virginia and Maryland have large black populations. He has family ties to Nebraska and Hawaii (well, Nebraska's next door to Kansas anyway). There are a lot of progressive Democrats in Wisconsin. Obama could win all of those states. Clinton's best shot is probably the Maine caucus, on Sunday. The overall delegate count will stay close, but Obama will keep raising more money, and generating more excitement, and he could start to pull away. Clinton's next firewalls are Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania - huge states built a lot like California, as far as Hillary is concerned - and if she sweeps those, she will probably still be the nominee. But if not...
For more on how the superdelegates work, and the role they could play, listen to the story I did on them Friday.
We've added a new widget to the Sovern Nation home page, with the latest delegate count. And we've updated our Primary Calendar, to show who's won what so far, and how many delegates each remaining state has. Check it out!
Finally, a clarification: When I wrote about Mike Huckabee promising to sit in with the Eyewitness Blues Band, I mentioned that Bill Clinton "stood us up" last year when he declined to play the sax with the band at an event in San Francisco. Imagine my surprise last week, when I arrived at the Ferry Building to cover Bill Clinton campaigning for his wife. No, he didn't whip out his horn - but a Clinton staffer came up to me and told me I was "just like every other reporter....The President did not stand you up, because he would have had to make a commitment for that to be true, and he never said he would play with you!" I was stunned - but thrilled and flattered that someone from the Clinton campaign was actually reading my blog. So she's the one...
I promised her a clarification, just to prove I am not just like all the other newsboys. So here it is - former President Clinton never promised to play with us. We just hoped he would, so we rented a sax for him to play, and learned his special song just in case, and were told he might...but when we asked him backstage, he glared at us and said "nice try." Of course, he did promise afterwards that he would bring his sax and sit in with us the next time he was in town, and he's been here a few times since, and that hasn't happened. So there.
But we've been playing pretty well Mit Out him.