FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 28, 2008
24 states vote for presidential candidates Feb. 5 on Super Tuesday
With a presidential primary for each party Tuesday in Florida, the last big stop before Super Tuesday, political coverage is prominent this week. Invite students to analyze a front-page article for clarity, balance and context. Are any important points missing or unclear?
Using that same article or several about the campaign, ask the class to discuss whether comments from the public -- those who voted or will vote -- are given appropriate placement and length.
Most newspaper web sites have reference resources to help visitors learn about presidential candidates' backgrounds, positions, ads, poll standings and more. Send pupils on a search at this paper's site for video, audio or text files about any candidate or your primary.
Get set to see a major turn in each party's presidential nominating race next week. Results from two dozen primaries and caucuses could play a big role in determining which Democrat and which Republican will face off in November.
This type of campaign shakeout day dates back to 1984, when eight states had primaries on March 27 and the media tag "Super Tuesday" was born. Party leaders in later-voting states soon began moving up their primaries to share the attention given to a voting sweepstakes day. The campaign calendar increasingly became what's called "front-loaded" as the Super Tuesday jackpot advanced from early spring to late winter and now to the start of February.
Balloting from Conecticut to California next week is the most super-sized primary day ever, leading some political pros to call it Super Duper Tuesday. More than 70 million registered voters are eligible to participate. Those who cast ballots will pick a favored candidate for president, though they'll actually elect delegates for national party conventions this summer. That's when each party formally nominates a presidential candidate. Next Tuesday, Democrats have 1,681 delegates at stake (52 percent of all pledged delegates) and Republicans will elect 1,015 (41 percent of their total).
On the Democratic side, two U.S. senators - Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois - are the leaders in a historic campaign that also features Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the 2004 vice-presidential nominee. Clinton, who lived in the White House from 1993-2001 as first lady when her husband Bill was president, would be her party's first female presidential nominee. Obama would be the first African American nominee.
Among Republicans, the leading candidates are Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1967-73, and three other men - ex-Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, ex-Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City and Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.
Editor says: "For the sake of democracy and to keep voters pumped up through the primaries, I'd like to see this primary season last well past Super Tuesday so that other states' residents can make their votes count." - David W. Kubissa, associate editor of The Star-Gazette in Elmira, N.Y.
Professor says: "We're in uncharted territory. [If Super Tuesday is indecisive] there would be tremendous pressure for someone to concede, or for a deal to be made, well before the conventions. And maybe the late primary states actually have some clout for once, ironically." - Burdett Loomis, University of Kansas political scientist
After Feb. 5: Primaries in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia and elsewhere could wrap up one or both parties' contests. "Maybe some states were better off waiting," says Jenny Backus, a Democratic consultant.
Front Page Talking Points
is written by
Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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