Obama makes March 4th push, gets Teamsters endorsement

We have now entered a two week stretch with no election -- the longest such stretch since voting started on January 3rd, and Barack Obama is hoping that leaves him with enough time to comeback in both Ohio and Texas and potentially end the nomination fight there. The Columbus-Dispatch reports that Obama now has a "huge media buy" in Ohio, twice the size of Hillary Clinton's. This is unlikely to last, since Clinton has recovered from her early February fundraising woes (and appears to still be raising $1 million daily) and she will have to match Obama's spending in March 4th soon, but it is still another indication of the advantage Obama has right now, and Clinton is being pressed even on her home turf.

A SUSA poll of Ohio released last night showed Clinton ahead, but with a decreasing margin:

  • She is up 52% to 43%, compared to the 56% to 39% lead she had a week prior (before Potomac).
  • Clinton still looks strong among registered Democrats (56% to 39%) and she benefits from a huge gender gap (44%), with a 28% lead among women.
The campaign's dynamics have now fundamentally shifted, with Obama as the frontrunner set to accumulate support and endorsements, and Clinton as the underdog who will be struggling to stay on equal footing. Three developments this morning dramatically emphasize this.

(1) Obama is set to receive the endorsement of the Teamsters union, the third biggest American union with 1.4 million members. The Teamsters were said to be waiting for Wisconsin to vote, underscoring the momentum that the Illinois Senator is building. To make matters worse for Clinton, yet another superdelegate switched her support from her to Obama, state Senator Dana Redd from New Jersey.

(2) Via Marc Ambinder, a 527 is now being formed to help Hillary. This had been rumored since it was first known that Clinton was having fundraising trouble, and plans are now looking to go forward. Clinton allies are reportedly trying to get major donors to commit $100,000 and have already come up with a name - "American Leadership Project." The plan is to help the candidate contest Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania, and it will be interesting to see whether a 527 would go more negative against the Illinois Senator than the Clinton campaign has. Don't forget, it is illegal for a 527 to coordinate with a campaign in any way, so if this one is formed the Clinton campaign will pretty much have to watch from the sidelines. (Update: Well, the Leadership Project has already come out with an ad that will air in Ohio in the coming weeks. It is a pro-Hillary ad focused on her economic work, with only an indirect swipe at Obama: "If speeches could create jobs, we wouldn't be facing a recession").

(3) The Obama and McCain campaigns are increasingly engaging one another, elevating Obama to the status of presumptive nominee before he actually gets there. McCain took swipes at the Illinois Senator in his victory speech last night, for example accusing him of wanting to bomb Pakistan, an ally, a charge to which the Obama camp is already responding (and some in the media are debunking). McCain made an indirect reference in his speech to Michelle Obama's comment about her pride of America. All of this is creating a general election storyline from which Hillary Clinton is excluded, which runs the risk of making her look irrelevant to Democratic voters. At the same time, this argument should not be overstated. The campaign is anything but national right now as most states have already weighed in, and Texas and Ohio voters will see plenty of both candidates.



  • maybe it's a good idea for Obama to get used to these light punches from left-wing 527s, cuz if he thinks that's the worst case scenario, he ain't see nothin' yet regarding what the right-wing is capable of producing.

    If 527s can bring down a decorated veteran like Kerry, you can bet they also have the potential to bring down a 1-term Senator. Actually half-term, he *would've* completed 1-term in Jan 2011.

    To put this in relative terms : If we describe this "ALP" is high-school junior varsity, in the general election, Obama will be facing the MVPs from NFL.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 February, 2008 23:10  

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