Pundits Deal From the Race Deck on South Carolina

Obama towers
Somebody give the photo editor a raise! Photo: Getty Images

As America recovers from the gladiator-like contest that was Monday's Democratic debate, we look ahead to the next battleground, South Carolina. Well, not everyone: Recognizing that the state's large black population has decisively tipped the polls in Barack Obama's favor — in their endorsement, S.C.’s biggest newspaper called Obama the “only Democrat who plausibly can say that he wants to work with Americans across the political spectrum” — Hillary Clinton has basically abandoned the place to campaign in populous Super Tuesday states. Yeah, right — abandoned like a fox. Clinton’s got it all planned out, as usual.

• David Broder says that, given his demographic advantages, not winning South Carolina on Sunday would mean Obama's pretty much done for. [WP]

• And even if Obama wins, writes Marty Peretz, it’s got to be a landslide to prevent Clinton from spinning it as anything but a victory for herself. [New Republic]
• Here's where it gets crazy: Clinton nemesis Dick Morris says that if Obama wins, he loses. All the support from South Carolina's African-Americans will render him the “black candidate” he has worked to avoid becoming, and that “will trigger a massive white backlash against Obama and will drive white voters to Hillary Clinton.” [The Hill]
But, says Mickey Kaus, Obama can “escape his electoral ghetto” by coming out strongly against race-based affirmative action. Yikes. [Slate] —Dan Amira

Clinton Now Looking Beyond S.C. [WP]