Wednesday, May 7, 2008

May 7, 2008

Maybe the fat lady has laryngitis. Anyway, she didn't sing and it ain't over, although it's a little harder to sing the Clinton victory song than it was a couple of days ago.

Barack Obama carried North Carolina comfortably, by fourteen points. Hillary Clinton carried Indiana narrowly, 51--49. Obama told a crowd in Raleigh, N.C. that he is "less than 200 delegates away" from securing the nomination. But he has very real problems, and they come down to one word: race.

Senator Clinton carried the white vote in both states among both men and women. About one in seven whites told the exit poll that race was important to them. Six in ten of them in North Carolina, eight in ten in Indiana, voted for Clinton.

And those who support one of them don't much like the other one. The poll showed that nearly two-thirds of Clinton's voters said they'd be dissatisfied with Obama as the nominee. A third of Clinton's backers said they'd vote for Republican John McCain over Obama in the fall.

And it works both ways: about 60% of Obama's voters said they'd be dissatisfied with Clinton as the nominee, and about 20% said they'd vote for McCain if she were the nominee.

What happens now? It will be hard for Clinton to catch up in delegates in the remaining primaries; there aren't that many left. She is urging that the party count the delegates elected in Michigan and Florida. They held their primaries earlier than party rules allowed and were told their delegates would not be seated at the convention. Clinton won both states; Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. The Democrats have a meeting scheduled later this month to consider what to do.

Sir Winston Churchill made a speech during the dark days of World War II in which he said, "We shall fight in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender." He is supposed to have added after the mikes were off--this is such a good story it's probably not true, "We shall hit them over the head with beer bottles because that's about all we'll have left by then." So if you see Hillary striding about holding a beer bottle, it may be part of her "look like one of the guys" strategy, but she may also be looking for an Obama backer to thump.

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