Fresh off the back of his resounding victory in South Carolina, Barack Obama has received the holy grail of endorsements — Democrat royalty and brother of the man Obama is often compared to (Bobby, not John), Ted Kennedy has given the nod to Barry over Hillary. Ditto his niece Caroline in The New York Times over the weekend (read Time for the Kennedys on why they weighed in.) And in Florida, they’re already writing Rudy Giuliani’s political obituary. Roll on Super Tuesday.

What Ted Kennedy’s endorsement means: Kennedy’s progressive record on economic issues, not to mention his family name, might give him unusual clout with older, working-class white voters — ones who, until now, have strongly preferred Hillary Clinton. Kennedy is also said to be popular with Latinos, thanks in part to his history of championing liberal immigration reforms and to Robert Kennedy’s early support of Cesar Chavez. This is where the timing of Kennedy’s announcement — and peculiar dynamics of this race — could prove critical. — The New Republic

A repudiation of dynasties: Seeing Ted praise Obama, it felt like a father deciding to give the family business to the adopted son rather than his natural son. And that’s the point: For all the talk about Obama inheriting the Kennedy legacy, this is not a dynasty. Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama therefore flies in the face of the dynastic succession of another Clinton presidency. Symbolically, it’s a repudiation of dynasties. — Trailhead, Slate

Why is anyone surprised that the Clintons are good at campaigning on race?: Say what you will about the Clintons, you cannot acquit them of having played the race card several times in both directions and of having done so in the most vulgar and unscrupulous fashion. Anyone who thinks that this equals “change” is a fool, and an easily fooled fool at that. — Christopher Hitchens, Slate

Back in your box Bill: — It has long been assumed – more conventional wisdom – that Bill as co-president was another huge plus, especially for Democratic voters. But suddenly even sympathetic observers like Wills are exploring the darker penumbras of that question. And with Bill having raised millions of dollars for his library from undisclosed donors – some of whom would surely have business with the federal government, as Frank Rich noted in his Sunday New York Times column – these explorations are likely to mount over the next 10 days. — Michael Tomasky, The Guardian

Why Giuliani deserves to lose: As an early (2006) believer in his capacity to become this race’s frontrunner, I’d have to say that he’s run a campaign that deserves to lose. While he focused strategically on Florida and the Feb. 5 states, he undermined this by pitching his campaign thematically to Iowa and other parts of the GOP least likely to vote for him. Now, should Giuliani lose tomorrow and overall, the media blame will fall mainly on his much-maligned late-state strategy. But it’s tough to see any other path he could have taken. — Ryan Sager, NY Post

Why he deserves to win: The conditions are all in place for an epochal Republican disaster in 2008 … How can we hold the line on government while addressing America’s genuine health-care needs? How can we sustain the competitiveness of the American economy against a Democratic Congress quivering to impose new taxes and new regulations? How can we win a war on terror that the congressional majority seems already to have written off as lost? Rudy Giuliani is the answer to these challenges. No living elected official has solved more public problems with more outstanding success than Rudy Giuliani. If there is one person Americans associate with competence in government, it is Rudy. As the primary race has warmed up, some have tried to diminish the mayor’s accomplishments. But in fact, the closer you look, the more amazing they become. — David Frum, National Review

Giuliani loses his biggest supporter: As if things weren’t grisly enough already, Rudy Giuliani hit the campaign trail in Florida yesterday wounded by fresh polls still pegging him a distant third in primary voting tomorrow. He was also robbed at the last moment of support from the state’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist. There was no mentioning Mr Crist as the former New York mayor courted the Jewish vote in a wealthy Boca Raton synagogue yesterday morning, touting his long record of standing by Israel and highlighting his commitment to combating the “Islamic terrorist war against the United States”.  But the surprise announcement at the weekend that governor Crist was endorsing John McCain, the Arizona senator, in Florida was a particular affront to Mr Giuliani who has been counting on the Sunshine State to power his quest for the party’s presidential nomination. — David Usborne, Independent 

McCain peaks: John McCain has just had a heck of a week. He’s peaking at the right time in Florida, perhaps just in time to come away Tuesday evening with the Sunshine State’s 57 convention delegates as well as momentum into Super Tuesday, just a week after Florida’s primary. In boxing, when a fighter flurries at the end of a round he may win it even if he hadn’t been the best up to the flurry. It’s called stealing a round. Bad name, but a legit strategy. If you’re susceptible to sports metaphors, as I am, this may be the way you see the last few days for McCain. And what an important round Florida will be. Besides the large number of delegates at stake, this will be the first time McCain can show what he has without any help from independents. Only Republicans can vote in the Florida Republican primary. — Larry Thornberry, The American Spectator

Romney and McCain in Conservative-off: “I don’t think McCain’s a Democrat [Romney told a small audience] but I do recall. . .a story that he was thinking about being John Kerry’s running mate. He gave that some thought. Had someone asked me that question there would not have been a nanosecond of thought about it. It would have been an immediate laugh and of course if someone had asked him if he would have considered me as a running mate he would have also laughed immediately.” Romney said, “So we are different. I’m conservative. “ The McCain camp responded quickly sending out a piercing response from the senator… — Shushannah Walshe, Fox News

Peter Fray

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