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Monday, January 28, 2008

Politics: Obama and Clinton Down to Delegate by Delegate Grappling

Obama gets the coveted endorsement of Springfield's Mayor uh, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy today.

The Clinton camp knew South Carolina was likely to go Obama's way. What they didn't count on was his huge margin of victory -- 53%. He drew almost as many white males to the table as Hillary while getting the bulk of the black vote.

February 5th now looms in importance and the Kennedy family endorsements that are coming Obama's way today should serve as a big red warning signal to camp Clinton:

1) The rough campaigning is taking its toll. Black voters are an important base group and if they are turned off in a tight election its bad news for a Democrat. Combine that with the Clinton's penchant for getting Republicans out to the polls and some party elders are taking a second look at the electability factor.

2) There is a sizable wing of the Democratic party that does not want the circus back in town. While the Clinton years were ones of prosperity, they were also ones of great political division that ultimately saw the return of Republican power in the house and an unprecedented impeachment trial. Let's not forget the very personal stake the Kennedy family has had as the first family of Democratic politics -- do they want to cede that status to the Clintons?

3) This is looking like a "change" election -- much like 1992. Hillary's message of experienced leadership is a hard sell in this environment. Sending Bill out on the trail only reinforces the "back to the future" -ness of her campaign.

4) Hillary is tamping down her own strengths by having Bill be so visible. In all likelihood she will be a better and more disciplined chief executive than he was. But his very presence as an advocate muddies the water. She ought to be able to draw distinctions between herself and Obama, Republicans, and her husband. She's been very effective when she has done so.

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