Clinton to GOP re emails: Checkmate in 3

Did you feel like you got the answers you wanted from Hillary’s press conference? Probably not.  Virtually nobody else seems happy:

  • Republicans say Hillary Clinton’s press conference ‘raised more questions than it answered’ (
  • Clinton’s message to voters is, ‘Trust me.’ Will they listen? (
  • Clinton Deleted “Personal” Emails Following Opaque Review Process (
  • Trey Gowdy: ‘Clinton has created more questions than answers’ (

And on and on and on.

So are you looking forward to the next round of questions and disclosures? Don’t.  It will not happen.  I know you want to learn some fact or clue that will contradict her statements and prove, well, I’m not sure what, but something bad.  Maybe the servers were hacked by China. Maybe the emails she kept back from State would hurt her election prospects. Maybe she schemed against the interests of America.  You never know what you’ll catch when you go fishing.

But here’s the thing: Hillary Clinton has figured out the absolute minimum she was required to do and the least she has to explain.  She’s fulfilled those obligations and made those explanations. All her pieces are in position now, and it’s checkmate in 3.

Her position is defensible: She supplied the State Department with printed copies of all (so decided by her) relevant emails. She has explained how every aspect of it was logical and legal. She did it for convenience sake. She says she has complied with all relevant laws and rules.  She has indicated that the system was secure and never held classified information.

If you don’t believe it, I feel for you.  I too find the explanation lacking.  Is there a weakness you can exploit? No, there is not.

Here’s the most important line in the press conference: “At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails.”  The precise phraseology of “at the end” here means only one thing: someone has taken a sledgehammer to the server — or specifically its disk drives — and littered the fragmentary remains in the Hudson river. All emails, in electronic format, are irretrievably lost.

The paper copies given over are the only thing that’s left of her emails.  That’s why you have to ask State for them.  What she destroyed, she was under no obligation to keep. What she was obligated to keep, she handed over to the custody of the State Department.

So ask whatever else you wish. Try to prove anything. The answers are going to be exactly the same every time. There is nothing else she can say, or provide in response to subpoena because there is nothing left of that the email system. She’s explained it all.  The press will get tired of asking shortly, because they know there’s no way to learn anything else, and that cannot prove there is anything else to learn.

The GOP can try, through its powers in Congress.  But about the third time the Gowdy asks for the same thing, and is told, for the third time, it does not exist or the question can no longer be answered, Hillary will be able to make the case that it’s a baseless witchhunt.  The GOP will have to give up at risk of scoring too many own goals.

Either she was perfectly innocent, or it was the perfect crime, but either way, Hillary’s chess game was perfect.

Obama Twitter mentions, August-February ….

There’s no real insightful analysis to this, I just thought it was interesting and worth sharing:

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Click to Enlarge

Some caveats: (1) during election night and a couple of the debates, Twitter’s API couldn’t keep up with the volume of tweets, and so my counts are too low.  (2) How you define your search affects the counts.  My search is somewhat narrow, and so that also will undercount tweets about the President.

During the inauguration, Obama got over a million mentions on Twitter.  That’s an amazing number of people who took the time to write their thoughts (positive or negative) about the event and the man.  Unless they were all about Michelle, of course…

Don’t like the election results? Have a Mulligan!

As the last votes from election 2012 trickle in, people on both sides of the political divide have moved on from their initial reactions to the election towards planning for the future.  But the questions of could-have should-have still linger in many people’s minds: could a change in effort or focus have switched the results?

To answer that, it’s good to know how close the election really was.  We all know how many votes separate the two candidates, but apart from finding 3.5 million more declared, dedicated Romney voters, what would have changed the outcome?  There’s a lot of what-ifs that people will play in their mind, and most are impossible to quantify.  But one set of what-ifs are fairly easy to model: what if the demographics of the electorate had changed?

For example, what if the african-american vote had been lower? With enough fewer votes, Romney would have won:

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About 4 million fewer african-american voters, and Romney could have won.

Want to play with the demographics yourself? You can!  Just visit my Election Mulligan web page:

You can test such things as changing the male/female balance in the votes, adding in more rich voters or removing poor voters, seeing what happens if more latinos vote, or reducing the youth vote.  See what it takes to put Romney in the White House (if that’s your goal) or see how really hard it would have been for Romney’s Get-Out-The-Vote efforts to overcome Obama’s impressive campaign (if you like what happened)!

It’s fun, fast, and easy,  And you may be surprised how hard it would be to change the election.

The data for this app is based upon election results updated to 11/21 and exit polls conducted at the time of the election.  Note that exit polls are subject to error, and the results of this app are purely hypothetical.

Obama vs. Romney on Twitter — Ryan VP Pick week (8/12/2012)

With all of the excitement over Todd Akin, it’s easy to forget that last week was all about Romney picking Paul Ryan as his running mate.  But it was a busy week nonetheless, and it’s interesting to look at how it was played out on Twitter.

The first thing that stands out is that the number of tweets mentioning each candidate was roughly the same.  Both received about 1.9 million mentions on Twitter.  Romney may have fewer followers, but he’s just as hot of a topic.

For both of the candidates, about 45% of the tweets were retweets, while the rest were not (or were modified in the process).  There’s a lot of people expressing their opinions out there.  And what were those opinions?

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How did Twitter react to the Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare?

If you use Twitter, there’s no surprise that last week’s supreme court decision about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is a hot topic.  So what’s everyone talking about?  I analyzed tweets from 6/28/2012 through the end of 7/3/2012:

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Does this mean that Twitter was  almost 2 to 1 (29%:18%) against Obamacare? Not quite — a lot of the humor was directed at anti-ACA folks (mostly, it seems, about them moving to Canada in protest).  Still, it’s clear that the anti-ACA tweeple have been more active.

It will be interesting to see if, in a week or so, whether this intensity keeps up …


To do this analysis, I did a statistically valid sampling of over 500 tweets from the nearly 500K tweets that contained keywords related to the act and the supreme court ruling.  I read each and every one of them (and sometimes followed the links in them to be certain of the intent).  I then assigned them to one of the categories you see above (and discarded ones that were not on the topic).  This sampling is designed to give each score a +/- 5% interval at 95% confidence.

There are several sources of bias, of course.  One is “volunteer bias”, which means that you cannot infer what the typical user of Twitter thinks, only what the typical tweet says.  There is also a risk of an analysis bias, in that I’m reading the tweets and assigning them to the categories the best that I can.  Sometimes, though, sarcasm and sincerity are hard to tell apart!