No question that Hillary has had a good run these past two weeks. She snapped her 11-state losing streak with wins in Ohio and Rhode Island, and the perception of a win in Texas. Her "kitchen sink" strategy planted doubts about Obama's fitness as commander-in-chief and his forthrightness. She successfully worked the refs (with an assist from SNL). She won the spin cycle when two of Obama's key advisors (Goosling and Power) were caught talking trash. She managed her public personas, tamping down the over-the-top "shame on you," scold and "the sky will open" sarcasm.
Conventional wisdom says all this has rattled the Obama campaign and thrown it off stride. I hope not. Because he's had a terrific week and Clinton has given him ammunition to come out of this stronger than ever.
1. IL-14. Former Republican House speaker Denny Hastert's house seat went Democratic (53-47) in a race where Obama endorsed victorious Bill Foster and John McCain endorsed the loser. This district hasn't voted Democratic since the 70's. Obama's camp should flog this win heavily. Obama has coattails. Superdelegates notice those things. Here's Obama's TV Spot. (By the way... Foster himself counts as one more superdelegate for Obama.) Extra bonus: Foster opposes retroactive immunity for the telecoms.
2. Wyoming. It's not just that Obama won, but his win gave the Clintons one more chance to repeat their disrespectful spin that some states just don't count. (I live in Washington, and I'm tired of hearing from Clinton camp that we don't matter.) And more important, it gives the Obama camp an opportunity to remind superdelegates in a majority of states that Clinton dismisses them as unimportant.
3. McCain. Hillary Clinton actually rated the Republican standard bearer as more qualified than Obama (while out of the other side of her mouth she touted Obama as a potential "dream-ticket" running mate). What a golden opportunity to tie Clinton to McCain/Bush. Clinton needs to be held to account and penalized for creating sound bites and video clips for the Republicans.
4. Delegates. Kos did the delegate math for the week. In all the primaries and caucuses (OH, RI, VT, TX, WY), Hillary nets a gain of four. Obama picked up a total of four supers (including Foster). But, according to Kos, it doesn't end in a tie, as there's an "unpledged" delegate in Wyoming who will be selected by the elected delegates. Since Obama has a majority of Wyoming's elected delegates, he's going to get that one too. So Obama's net for the week is plus one.
5. Focus. The downside spin is that Obama is rattled and thrown off stride. Here's the upside. Last week was a wake-up call. Obama's got the more disciplined campaign engine (Goosling and Power notwithstanding); he's got the cleaner, larger donor base; he's got a huge dollar advantage; he's all got charisma. But, it seems, he's been coasting in a bit of a complacency bubble which just popped.
Mickeleh's Take: This is going to be a fine, fun week for Obama fans.
(Tags: campaign, Obama, Barack Obama, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, delegates, superdelegates)