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September 24th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

269 tie: An electoral college 'doomsday'?

Joseph Curl
The Washington Times

President Obama, with Vice President Palin? President Biden? President Pelosi? Call them the "Doomsday" scenarios - On Nov. 5, the presidential election winds up in a electoral-college tie, 269-269, the Democrat-controlled House picks Sen. Barack Obama as president, but the Senate, with former Democrat Joe Lieberman voting with Republicans, deadlocks at 50-50, so Vice President Dick Cheney steps in to break the tie to make Republican Sarah Palin his successor.

"Wow," said longtime presidential historian Stephen Hess. "Wow, that would be amazing, wouldn't it?"

"If this scenario ever happened, it would be like a scene from the movie 'Scream' for Democrats," said Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh. "The only thing worse for the Democrats than losing the White House, again, when it had the best chance to win in a generation, but to do so at the hands of Cheney and Lieberman. That would be cruel."

Sound impossible? It's not. There are at least a half-dozen plausible ways the election can end in a tie, and at least one very plausible possibility – giving each candidate the states in which they now lead in the polls, only New Hampshire – which went Republican in 2000 and Democratic in 2004, each time by just 1.5 percent – needs to swap to the Republican column to wind up with a 269-269 tie.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. losinghope

    I plead with you all ...... LISTEN

    September 24, 2008 at 8:58 pm |
  2. Alex

    So whats the REAL 'tie breaker?" Wouldn't it be great to see a bippartisan White House. This election is getting weirder and weirder.

    September 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  3. matt

    I think it won't matter if Barrack does not send Joe Biden to congress to offset the Mcain hail mary. If Barrack won,t go send joe

    September 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  4. Hercules Mulligan

    SO NOW THE DEBATE AND OF ALL IN FOREING POLITICS it is the "priority" instead of the PRESENCE of all brains in Washington DC, to help to bring solutions to the economic crisis.
    What we are seen here is that McCain has stated a coup demostrating that "showing up" is not solution but that the real statesman projection is to give priority to what priority must have.
    Perhaps what happens with mr.Obama is that he feels that as in international policies he has not too many ideas to contribute with to the solution of the economic crisis we are facing with.
    Mr.McCain should remind to the American People, when the debate day comes, it is the "solution" that mr.Obama was propossing when Russia assaulted Georgia few weeks ago, :"Let us take this Russian invasion to be dealt with at the United Nations' Security Council". He said. After the blunder he had to be told that Russia has VETO POWER at the Security Council. God unbelievable. On the other hand "his uncle was amongst the liberators of Auschwitz, which of course WAS NOT LIBERATED BY AMERICANS, but by Russians
    These is the "president" that the Kennedy cabal formed by messrs. Reid, Dean and Pelosi decided to imposed as the Democrat candidate in place of mrs.Hilary Clinton.

    September 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  5. Ben Backwoods, MS

    Go the Diversity ticket!!!!!! Oh man, I wonder how that would play out during re-election if Obama and Palin actually made a fantastic duo.

    September 24, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  6. veronica West

    Instead of McCain postpoing-why dont Biden -Palin debate????? Boy would the WORLD love to see that!!

    September 24, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
  7. MIKE LAKE WORTH FLORIDA

    Does Cindy from GA get everything she prints put on the blog!!!! It's not like she has anything earth shattering to say. Mike from florida who never makes the blog!

    September 24, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  8. Darryl

    Denver, CO

    What a nightmare; scarier than Freddie Krueger. Pitch it to Hollywood and I'm sure they can have a made-for-TV movie (maybe even a miniseries) before the election.

    September 24, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  9. Galy

    Does McCain think he actually has that kind of right, cancelling the presidential debates and not paying a political price but on the contrary.

    September 24, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  10. Andy Ca.

    Oh Cindy – lighten up. No one is trying to scare anyone. It's a fun exercise in statistics and math!!!!!

    September 24, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  11. Joy in Seattle

    The probability of there actually be a tie is so unlikely that writing an article about it as if it was a doomsday coming is ridiculous. Certainly, it is possible, but not probable or even likely.

    September 24, 2008 at 5:30 pm |
  12. Nate

    As this financial mess as well as its possible solutions become clearer and less opaque, there will be less toss-up states with more states either becoming a red state or blue state. Therefore, this scenario is highly unlikely.

    September 24, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  13. LJ in MD

    Hey Mike from Canada – you got a spare room to rent?
    I have been saving a good portion of my salary for retirement for almost 30 years, so I obviously can't pay much – now.
    What do you say Mike.....can you help out a poor biochemical engineer with the misfortune of living through 8 years of GOP profiteering?

    September 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  14. Tina

    What is so unreal is , people don't see it. They can't get it. They go for what is the comfort zone. We can't have that now.
    It will get real uncomfortable in years to come. I don't like either one,and no one really does, I'm sure. This is not a democracy, it's all
    planned out. MOney rules.

    You have to admit that. You can't deny it.
    Never forget , we are the people. We are the people who rule this country. We could be the people who make America right for our grandchildren. We must think about that.

    We can't put up with this much longer.

    September 24, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  15. Stephanie in Houston

    It sounds like a movie. I doubt Lieberman would pick Palin, though. i think he'd lean toward Biden (but maybe I'm wrong, come to think of it, Biden is pretty cool about Iran's nukes – that might piss off Lieberman's zionist constitutent – and his wife?)

    September 24, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  16. Keith

    Well, at least we know that obama will keep his promises of giving us the same health care package that he receives as a U.S. Senator and that our kids will pay $4000 less in tuition each year. I guess that since he is against nuclear energy then he will have our current nuclear energy facilities dismantled.

    September 24, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  17. Tina

    She should not even shed light on any flaw in her part as a mother. That is not our concern. It has been an issue with some folks, who wasn't taught right. We can forgive them.

    The main issues are at risk when dealing with such people. We should go for the main artery and ask what is important. I just can't stand it when people only want a story to tell. What her life is like, or John McCains is not important as what they plan to do.

    I still do not know who I'm voting for.

    September 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  18. J from DC

    NOT ready to lead, NOT ready for the press, NOT ready to be transparent.
    I have to say, I am a little thrown back by Sara Palin. She keeps saying everyday that she wants to bring transparency and reform to Washington. But she does not even have transparency in her own state. She has “instructed” her staff people (who work for her) not to answer subpoenas for the investigation on the trooper case. Citizens of Alaska have inquired about the issue, they want transparency. Now the small case has reached public interest and the rest of the public is now being ignored. Palin is saying that the investigation is now political. But, that happens when you are in office. The other side will ask question and try to shade light on any flaw they see. It is up to her to show that there is nothing to the allegations. If she won’t be transparent on that issue, I don’t think she will be transparent on any serious concerns the American people may have if she gets in office. For undecided voters, she is not being very transparent right now.

    September 24, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  19. Tina

    It seems to me to be a joke. This wouldn't even be an issue if we didn't have Parties. Democrat or Republican, they always change up anyway. It's bickering back and forth and not getting anything done for the country. These diehard republicans or democrats have nothing better to do than slam each other and get away from real problems.
    HIstory is hard to change.

    September 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm |
  20. Al in Alabama

    What intrigue! Bring it on!!!

    September 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  21. Betty Ann, Nacogdches,TX

    Hi Joseph,
    So many scenarios for a candidate to win WITHOUT the popular vote.
    Is this the American way?
    Is this the people's voice?
    Bush won without the popular vote.
    Obama won his nomination without the popular vote.
    Now, you tell me that Dick Cheeney of ALL people could choose our VP?
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Say it's not so!
    I guess we all just think this country is FOR the people and BY the people when in reality, it isn't!
    Thanks! I think~

    September 24, 2008 at 11:17 am |
  22. Deborah

    This is an extremely close election and it's possible this could happen. Madam Speaker should only be President if the President and VP are both dead, or have resigned, not because someone can't make up their mind or it's "caught up in the system." They have 2 1/2 months to get this sorted out after the election. Unfortunately, Cheney will vote for his party, not for what's right for the country. Here we go again...4 more years, and it's out of the voter's hands.

    September 24, 2008 at 11:01 am |
  23. Maureen, Newman California

    Scary thought. This is all based on polling though. I think that this election will forever change the way polls are managed. Obama has a huge following of young and minority voters that do not have landline phones. Only cell phones. I think that Obama will win by a large margin.

    September 24, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  24. Mike from Canada

    Oh My God!

    Your political system is weird ... don't really care who is the next President as long as this situation (tie or no tie) get's Bush out of office in January ...

    September 24, 2008 at 9:55 am |
  25. Annie Kate

    Fascinating. That does give one pause. This election has had just about everything else; it wouldn't surprise me in the least if this happened at this point. If it does I hope we don't beat Jefferson's 36 vote ordeal to select the president or vice president. I can see a Obama-Palin pairing but what about the chances for a McCain-Biden combination?

    The Founding Fathers put in the electoral college because they didn't want the common man to directly elect the President – they didn't think the common man was educated or smart enough to do such a weighty task for the nation. That was then, now its time to get rid of the Electoral College and take the training wheels off.....I think us voters are more than ready.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    September 24, 2008 at 8:59 am |
  26. Cindy

    I don't think this "dooms day" scenario will occur. No need to try to stir the pot with scare tactics! So much for the dems not using them!

    Cindy...Ga.

    September 24, 2008 at 8:44 am |