Presidential Observations

With our local stake, Belmont's Own, out of the race, I've been a little lax about blogging on the Presidential race. (I hope you've been keeping up via Steven Stark.) Herewith a few quick takes:

--I keep hearing how this ongoing battle for the nomination is bad for the Dems and the eventual candidate. Really? I can't help but notice that the latest head-to-head national polling (taken just before Tuesday's voting) has Obama at his best numbers yet against McCain: Washington Post has Obama +12; Cook has Obama +9. Clinton has nudged ahead of McCain in RCP's rolling average for the first time since the primaries started. Texas and Ohio had record-breaking turnout for the Clinton-Obama vote. The last debate was watched by 7.8 million people, the most to ever watch any programming on MSNBC. Both candidates are raising money faster than anyone has ever imagined possible. Pennsylvania papers are reporting massive interest already starting, a month-and-a-half before their primary.

--In my December article predicting the course of the race throughout '08, I've had my hits and misses.  Here's what I wrote about potential third-party candidates: "Ralph Nader and Ron Paul both work on getting onto ballots, as does a nativist/populist candidate, likely Lou Dobbs. Bloomberg makes noise but ultimately chooses not to run." I was right on the money about Nader and Bloomberg, wrong it seems about Paul. And what of the "nativist/populist candidate"? I wouldn't count it out yet.

--I think Obama and his team (particularly Axelrod) are making a mistake attacking Clinton for staying in the race. Have they not learned that the louder the squawking about the impending death of Clinton's campaign, the more voters (particularly women) have responded by trying to save it? When you're leading in the fourth quarter, you don't complain that the other side is leaving their starters in instead of subbing in their scrubs; you keep playing hard until the buzzer sounds. Gripe privately, but you'll get no sympathy by doing it publicly.

--Just after my new "Gen-X Obama" story went online, I got home to the new issue of New Yorker, which includes a fun profile of Michelle Obama; now there's a Gen-Xer for you!

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