March 4, 2008. Will it be the day Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency finally succumbs to Obamamania? Or will the former frontrunner haul her campaign up off the canvas to score a decisive win, throwing the pressure back on her opponent? Or will a close finish see the tussle between them drag on towards the Democratic National Convention in late August. These are the questions the voters of the delegate rich states of Texas and Ohio will answer today.

If form counts for anything, Hillary is up against it – she has lost the last 11 primaries to Obama. And if advertising makes a difference, Obama may have the edge there too, having spent almost twice as much as his adversary. Is he going for the knockout punch?

And what about that video: which ad-maker would you want answering the phone in the White House at 3am should something heavy go down somewhere in the world?

 

And the response:

The Clinton crystal ball: She’s run a sprawling national organization. She’s delegated responsibility and authority to experts to work on her behalf. She’s incorporated her husband into the organization and allowed him to use his legendary political skills to do her bidding. She has run up against a massive unforeseen challenge to her organization. So, yes, Hillary Clinton definitely has experience. That experience — her only national executive experience — has been in the running of her campaign for president. And what has been the result? A complete and utter breakdown of the organization she leads, a distracting, out-of-control husband who has ignored any and all authority, extensive and ugly infighting among her staff, angry and sarcastic outbursts by the executive herself, and a bitterly divided party in the midst of the most important election in a generation. – Michael Seitzman, Huffington Post

Clinton plays victim and victimizer: The stage has been set for a Hillary Clinton comeback on Tuesday. Nobody knows if she has the votes to do it, but the opportunity is ripe. She not only is vigorously attacking Barack Obama but simultaneously portraying herself as a victim. It is a nifty political two-step. She is a victim because a male-dominated press corps has counted her out, she says, and has lavished praise on Obama without submitting him to any real scrutiny. Roger Simon, Politico

What went wrong with the Clinton campaign? What went wrong? For the answer, one should turn (as always) to the teachings of Marx. “The secret of success in life is sincerity,” Groucho once famously observed. “If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” This truth about the human condition applies with particular force to politics. Mrs Clinton tries hard to fake sincerity – so hard it is painful to watch. Sometimes, in fact, I suspect that she really is sincere and only looks as though she is faking. Barack Obama, on the other hand, may actually be sincere – and if he is not, he fakes it so well it makes no difference. — Clive Crook, Financial Times

Deliverance or diversion? … Mr. Obama, instead of emphasizing the harm done by the other party’s rule, likes to blame both sides for our sorry political state. And in his speeches he promises not a rejection of Republicanism but an era of postpartisan unity. That — along with his adoption of conservative talking points on the crucial issue of health care — is why Mr. Obama’s rise has caused such division among progressive activists, the very people one might have expected to be unified and energized by the prospect of finally ending the long era of Republican political dominance. — Paul Krugman, New York Times

More questions, more concerns on Obama, trade: Barack Obama’s campaign has been trying for days to convince voters in the March 4 primary state of Ohio — as well as other states that have suffered as a result of trade deals that benefit corporations, not workers, farmers, consumers and the environment — that they’re not saying one thing to Americans who want the next president to take tough stands on trade policy, and another thing to trading partners and corporate donors who want to maintain the current free trade regime. Unfortunately, the paper trail keeps upsetting the best laid plans of what until now had been a meticulously-managed campaign. — John Nichols, The Nation

Can John McCain win despite the Republican brand? Four years ago, when President Bush came from behind to win re-election, the GOP had a far more favorable image and was still regarded as better able to deal with a number of important issues, most notably the war on terror. If the Republican Party were a brand of cereal, it would be discontinued by its maker. But surprisingly, the Republicans actually have a chance to retain the White House in November. — Stuart Rothenberg, Real Clear Politics

How should McCain tackle Obama, should Obama win? For what it’s worth here is my advice for McCain. Don’t run on experience. It hasn’t worked with Clinton and it won’t work for him. In McCain’s case it speaks for itself. Why downplay this obvious asset? Because this is a “change” election. If the economy continues to tank, it’s going to be even more of a change election. Remember the Bill Clinton mantra in 1992? “Change versus more of the same.” It worked. — Andrew Sullivan, Times Online

Peter Fray

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