Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Evening News

What do we make of this? Last night's debate got more viewers than anything else on cable, was MSNBC's highest rated hour ever, and beat out all but a few entertainment shows on television as a whole. Why? It could be the play that Hillary's weekend dramatics got, suggesting there would be lots of fireworks. It could be the growing awareness of Barack Obama, reflected in his big jump in the national polls. In any case, I stick with my analysis. Beyond the issues that have been discussed thoroughly in this campaign, it was about the impression of which person you'd want to see and experience and follow as President for the next four years. A clear winner for Obama, seems to me. (And Tom Shales in the Washington Post seems to agree with me, while Keith used my ju jitsu analogy today.)

Speaking of Obama winning, he got two more super-delegate endorsements: Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and Rep. John Lewis, the famed Civil Rights leader, who had previously backed Hillary. Some suggest this is the first of many endorsements/switches to Obama to come from the black political community. These two endorsements mean than Obama now has 200 super-delegate announced votes.

The Obama campaign announced that it has recorded its one millionth campaign contributor. News out of Ohio is that Obama has four times the TV ads as Clinton, and reporting plus anecdotes continue to suggest that the Obama ground game is far superior in both Texas and Ohio. More than a half million Texans have already voted; though both campaigns have been stressing early voting, the higher percentage increases in early voting are coming from areas believed to be Obama territory.

Via Kos, there's the information (as delegates continue to be awarded from contests long over, due to complex state rules) that since voting began with Iowa, Obama has not lost to Clinton in delegates once, including Super Tuesday, which so far has Obama gaining 842 delegates to 828 for Clinton.

While the news covers Clinton's latest new rationale or talking point for her primary election, today the news about Obama was an exchange on Iraq between Obama and John McCain. But I don't see overconfidence in the Obama campaign, which has taken on a life of its own with thousands of volunteers plus the union support that's being deployed on his behalf. They seem to be concentrating on the ground game. (They have a goal of one million phone calls to voters in March 4 states.) Clinton's latest series of content-related appearances in Ohio is actually pretty smart. But the Obama air campaign and the ground game may be too much.

If the Hillaryites are looking to Pennsylvania for yet another firewall, they'd better look again. Hillary was up by 16 points two weeks ago, but according to the Quinnipiac poll numbers today, that lead is down to 6: 49% to 43%.

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