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early and often

One Superdelegate Wavers, America Holds Its Breath

John Lewis

Photo: Getty Images

There are nearly 800 superdelegates voting in the Democratic primary, and literally hundreds of them are still undecided. There's a lot of time before they'll have to decide, too. So the fact that one of them has possibly switched his position shouldn't really be a big deal, right? Ha! Don't be ridiculous. We know by now that everything in this campaign is a big deal. So when word broke last night that Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia) either defected or is considering defecting, from the Clinton camp to the Obama camp, we knew there was a pundit tizzy in the making. Lewis is a well-known civil-rights leader and possibly Clinton’s most prominent African-American supporter. Just the fact that this is happening may be a sign that some of those early Clinton backers, especially African-Americans, are having a change of heart. Or it may just mean that one dude changed his mind. Luckily for you, there are plenty of people to decide what it means, so you don't have to.

• Jeff Zeleny and Patrick Healy report that Representative Lewis said he could “‘never, ever do anything to reverse the action’ of the voters of his district, who overwhelmingly supported Mr. Obama.” Even if he hasn't officially endorses yet, they write he could do so within days. [NYT]

• Mark Halperin thinks that if Representative Lewis defects to Obama, Clinton's odds of winning the nomination will be cut in half. [Page/Time]

• Michael Crowley believes Lewis’s switch would hurt Clinton but thinks Halperin wildly overstates the damage. [Stump/New Republic]

• Interestingly, Josh Marshall writes that “it is difficult to overstate” the impact of Lewis’s change of heart. He says it is a sign that a “tipping point is at hand.” [Talking Points Memo]

• Andrew Sullivan says Lewis's moral credibility will allow other superdelegates who have pledged support for Clinton to move to Obama and predicts this will happen. [Atlantic]

• Jennifer Skalka wonders what will happen if Clinton sees a surge of momentum from a win in Wisconsin and in the big states of Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Who is the front-runner, and whom should superdelegates support then? [Hotline/National Journal]

• Anne E. Kornblut throws a wrench into the whole story: Although from his statements to the Times it seems like he's switching (see above), it turns out Lewis has not yet made that decision, though he's leaving the option on the table. [Trail/WP]

• Chuck Todd and company are a bit confused about Lewis, pointing out that a vote for Obama at the convention is not exactly an endorsement. They also note that since Super Tuesday, Obama has picked up twelve superdelegates and Clinton has lost three. But as we know, these things are hardly set in stone. [First Read/MSNBC] —Dan Amira

For a complete guide to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.

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