Friday, March 28, 2008


Hillary's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

New Gallup tracking poll has Obama with an outside-margin-of-error lead of eight points, 50-42. Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Casey jumps off the fence and endorses Obama, while the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman tells Hillary to get out.

The former certainly has a lot to do with Pennsylvania politics and old grudges. As a noted observer of Keystone State infighting told me, "Bill Clinton kept his father out of the Democratic convention. The Caseys never forgot. In addition, Ed Rendell tried to kill Bob Casey in the governor's race. If Ed Rendell is for something, Casey is against it. He does the opposite. This also gets Casey national attention -- circumventing Rendell's national spotlight."

Even so, Casey must realize that the more-than-three weeks until the primary period may now work in Obama's favor. Yes, she currently has a double-digit lead, but if he beats her there, this thing is over. Especially given that there is another debate before the primary.

Even though Leahy had previously endorsed Obama, telling another fellow senator -- one with Hillary's pedigree and institutional power -- to drop out of the race is a pretty strong move.

It's all part of what can only be described as an awful week for Hillary. Obama continues to get overall good marks on his speech. Regardless of what people thought of his argument or about Jeremiah Wright, many considered it a substantial thoughtful speech that is rare in political campaigns. Simply put, he looked like a real adult in dealing with what could have been a crippling controversy. TNR's Marty Peretz praised Obama for not throwing Wright overboard. That was why Richardson decided to jump and endorse Obama.

In contrast, Hilllary's "sniper fire" comment was disastrous: It reminded everyone of the Clintons' truth problem; it totally undermines her experience argument. Even the average voter must have seen HRC's bringing Wright back up as the transparent attempt to change the topic. The release of her first lady schedule showing her pushing NAFTA also destroys credibility.

In short, this has been a two-week period where superdelegates -- and rank-and-file Dems, given the Gallup poll -- had a chance to see their two candidates facing the "issue" that may cause them the biggest problem in the general election: A post-racial black candidate trying to overcome a racial controversy and a female candidate with a reputation of not being completely truthful and straightforward. One candidate stepped forward and appeared to take the challenge head-on. The other candidate just tried to wave off her multiple statements as "a" mistake and turned her fire on her opponent -- and suggest a defacto war on other parts of the party.

Given those responses, this appears to be the weekend Democrats are ready to consider that it may well be better to run -- regardless of the risks -- with the new guy rather than with the tired old Bill and Hill show.

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