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January 28, 2008

Where the Democratic Race Stands

As I wrote on Saturday, I'm pleased by Barack Obama's stomping of Hillary Clinton in the South Carolina primary. The myth of Clinton's inevitability is done, the Democrats will keep tearing themselves up on the issue of race, and Clinton will get nastier as she gets more desperate.

However, the Wall Street Journal writes that Obama is still behind in some key big states:


The sheer diversity of the states in play -- racially, regionally, geographically -- means that no candidate will have the cash or the leisure to engage in anything approaching the old-fashioned whistle-stop campaigning that has defined the races in most states so far. Mr. Obama had more than three weeks to build on his Iowa victory to chip away at Mrs. Clinton's lead in South Carolina and ultimately to overwhelm her. That will be much harder over the coming week.

"Clinton is harvesting her long-term campaign investment," says Cole Blease Graham Jr., a professor of political science at the University of South Carolina. "The Democratic establishment seems to be more behind her."

Despite all of Obama's gains, Clinton started in the lead nationally and continues to hold that position. She has widespread support among Democratic women and Latinos, while his key support is coming from blacks and young men. It's beyond trite now to point out that the contest that started with such optimism, wherein race and gender were ignored in favor of issues, has ended up grotesquely pitting identity groups each against the others in a national melee. With the Clintons involved, everyone saw that one coming.

Check out the rest of the WSJ article for more discussion of the race as it lead up to Super Tuesday including this gem:

Exit polling also showed that around 60% of voters said Mr. Clinton's presence affected how they voted; of those in that category, about two-thirds voted for Mr. Obama or former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who finished a distant third.

Red-faced lectures about fairness, rants about bad reporting, and protestations that his and his wife's comments should not be seen as aimed at Obama's race apparently did not play well with Democrats.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:53 AM

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