Forget momentum — it’s all about the money. Campaign figures were released yesterday for both Democrat candidates, with Clinton announcing having raised $35 million last month, and Obama a whopping $55 million.

Obama, finally under scrutiny from the media who’ve been charged with going soft on golden boy, appealed to new donations to counter Clinton’s “negative, throw-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink campaign”.

And at the same time as Obama and Clinton sharpen their claws – for the upcoming primaries and cat fights, McCain is spending his time focusing on fundraising and capitalising on the near-civil war in Democrat ranks.

Hillary is the Democrat’s best hope: “ Mrs Clinton has two qualities that have so far gone strangely unrecognised – at least in the media – to set against Mr Obama’s glamour, charisma and reputed oratorical brilliance. Her first and most obvious quality is that she is a woman. While official opinion, especially in the US media, self-righteously insists that America is an egalitarian, multicultural society where gender and race should play no role in political allegiance or personal advancement, the fact is that this is nonsense. Everyone knows that women and blacks continue to lag far behind white male Americans by virtually every social and economic criterion. Finally there is the matter of maturity and experience. This is Mr McCain’s biggest gift to the Clinton campaign. An Obama-McCain contest would be seen as a match of inexperience against old age. Mr Obama hopes to win this competition by invoking the spirit of John F. Kennedy. What he forgets, however, is that Kennedy was swept to power on the crest of the baby boom, when the largest group of voters was in its twenties. Today these boomers are in their sixties or seventies – and will not take kindly to the charge that Mr McCain is too old to be president. Given the high propensity to vote among the elderly, this election will not be decided by a baby boom but by a senility surge.” – Anatole Kaletsky, The Times of London

Race is back: The “Bradley effect” — the tendency of voters to tell pollsters they’ll vote for an African-American candidate, then vote against him in the booth — certainly was evident in Ohio and Texas. Clinton out-performed pre-election polls by three points in Ohio, 1.5 in Texas and 8.3 in Rhode Island. — Roll call

How the gender divide will play out: “Hillary Clinton’s lead in the Democratic contest has been boosted by her extraordinary strength among women. About 60 percent of Democrats are women, while Republicans and independents tilt in the male direction. Women have been voting in substantial numbers in Democratic primaries all year, regularly casting more than 55 percent of the ballots. On Super Tuesday, women were 57 percent of the electorate and they voted for Clinton by a 10-point margin. In Wisconsin, they split their votes evenly, leading some analysts to suggest her campaign was in serious trouble given her weakness among her core female supporters. But women came back again in Ohio and Texas. In Ohio, they were 59 percent of the electorate, up from 52 percent in 2004. In Texas, they were 57 percent, up 4 percentage points. In both states, women’s support helped to put her over the top in the popular vote. The gender gap today has a strong intraparty dimension that has been evident throughout the Democratic contests, with men being more reluctant to vote for Clinton. In Ohio, she won the votes of women by a substantial margin (57 to 41 percent), but she won the votes of men narrowly, 50 to 48 percent.–The Washington Post

Huckabee’s online strategy: A while back I blogged about the social network strategy of the Huckabee campaign and how it was accomplishing a lot with very little (money). The campaign was using the power of the social tie/link — friends talking to friends about voting. Good strategy, limited population. Huckabee focused on well-defined clusters, like Christian evangelicals, that tend to be very insular and limited in size. With insular cliques, your strategy may work, but it only goes so far — influence does not cross the chasm to other groups.–  TechPresident

What about Florida and Michigan?: “Both states were stripped of their delegates by the Democratic National Committee last year because they moved up their primaries in violation of party rules. Florida lost 210 pledged delegates and 28 superdelegates, and Michigan lost 156 pledged delegates and 25 superdelegates. Both states went ahead and held their primaries anyway, and Clinton won both. Now she is pushing hard to get the two states seated at the convention in order to narrow the pledged-delegate gap between her and Obama. “Under our projections, if you sat both the Michigan and Florida delegations as they now exist and based on our projections for the remaining contests, Sen. Clinton would still trail narrowly on pledged delegates going into the convention,” a senior Clinton aide told me Wednesday. “But it would be very narrowly, and that would make a difference.”” – Roger Simon, Politico

Female VP for McCain: “John McCain may soon find himself under pressure to pick a woman as his running mate. Party strategists and even a few of his own outside advisers want the 71-year-old to consider a woman because it would soften his edge and help cut the gender gap that could favor the Democrats this year with either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama at the top of the ticket. Among the names some are offering up are two fellow senators, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Texas’s Kay Bailey Hutchison. Others are looking beyond Washington for names, including state and local governments and corporate headquarters. One hang-up with picking either Dole or Hutchison, said a GOP strategist and fundraiser, is that a ticket with two senators wouldn’t provide a picture of broad experience. But if wouldn’t matter, he said, if Clinton and Obama team up, as some suspect will occur if the Democrats’ delegate fight continues into their convention.” – Paul Bedard, US News

Peter Fray

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