Clinton does not give up on Wisconsin, nor on John Edwards

No one really knows what to expect from the Wisconsin primary at this point. All polls taken in the past week expect ARG's show a small Obama lead, but there has been relatively few surveys. The two campaigns have been remarkably engaged in a back-and-forth about whether Obama is ducking debates, and the situation is even more confused by the fact that we long did not know how seriously the Clinton campaign was going to contest this primary.

That question was partly answered when it was announced that Hillary would spend 4 days in Wisconsin starting on Saturday, but even that was quickly taken back as news emerged that Clinton would be leaving Monday, abandoning the state in the final day of campaigning. Now it looks like the campaign decided to push through as much as possible, scheduling events on Monday night.

This first of all implies that the campaign has realized it cannot afford to suffer yet another crushing loss and that it must stay close on Tuesday night -- at least in single digits. Spending tomorrow -- 15 days before March 4th -- in Ohio and Texas would move far less votes than a few more Wisconsin events. Second, the campaign's transparently competing in Wisconsin means that they believe they can outperform expectations and compete for the win.

Meanwhile, the night's second big story is Obama's trip to North Carolina, where he met with former candidate John Edwards. Clinton had gone down to visit him last week already. It is
worth pointing out that both Obama and Clinton managed to travel secretly, their presence not immediately revealed (though ABC managed to take a shot of the two Democrats meeting).

Edwards knows he has to endorse very quickly if he wants to have an impact, for Ohio and Texas are states where his support could potentially help a candidate. And in this endorsement watch, all bets now appear to be off. News that Edwards is torn between Clinton and Obama has been circulating for a while. I have said a few times that Obama's constant bashing of individual mandates would make it really hard for Edwards to back the Illinois Senator, though I have had trouble believing that the former candidate could endorse Clinton after running almost exclusively against her for a few months in this fall, often in much harsher rhetoric than Obama is employing even now. But, according to the latest AP article, this flirtation with a Clinton endorsement is not just a way to make an Obama one look more surprising:

People close to the Edwardses, speaking privately, say they have been torn about whom to support... The couple has been impressed with Clinton, who has more effectively courted them since the 2004 vice presidential nominee dropped out, people who talk to the Edwardses say. Obama has been less attentive, they say, and some of those close to the Edwardses have been annoyed that Obama has continued to ridicule him for once saying his biggest weakness is that he has a powerful response to seeing pain in others.

The conventional wisdom seems to be settling on Edwards staying out of endorsing at this point, since he appears to perhaps be leaning Clinton and realizing that it would seem incoherent for him to go there (not to mention that it would endanger the prospect of his featuring in an Obama Administration at a time when the Illinois Senator is increasingly favored for the nod). Anything else could give a jolt to whichever campaign gets the endorsement -- not to mention a few delegates.



  • The campaign decided not to shorten the campaign in Wisconsin.

    In other words, they didn't "extend" the campaign, they just followed through with plans as they existed 2 days ago.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 17 February, 2008 22:46  

  • uhmm - Obama is coming back to Wisconsin tomorrow and by the way - the election is on TUESDAY....not wednesday

    By Blogger stevepdx, At 18 February, 2008 00:29  

  • Yea, He is already back.

    That guy gets around. He has his own "Air Force One". A very nice charted jet.

    Damn, Having mountains of money to work with is nice.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 18 February, 2008 00:46  

  • I'm sure Wisconsin is more than happy to have all the money they can spend there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 18 February, 2008 11:47  

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