early and often

Pundits Size Up Obama and the Sweet Magic of Momentum


See, he won Maine and a Grammy.Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images, Courtesy of The Recording Academy, iStockphoto

Even if Obama’s victories in this past weekend’s primaries and caucuses did nothing to clarify the delegate count (either he’s up, or down, or they’re tied — nobody knows for certain), he certainly now has that treasured “momentum” going for him. Obama’s wins in Nebraska, Washington, Maine, and Louisiana weren’t even close. And in the Virgin Islands, he won the popular vote 92 percent to 8 percent (as the old saying goes, “As the Virgin Islands go, so goes the nation”). It looks likely as well that he’ll sweep the Potomac primary tomorrow and Hawaii and Wisconsin on February 19. Obama even won a Grammy last night — over Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is shaking up her campaign staff. So, are the superdelegates still headed to that smoke-filled room?

• William Kristol thinks Obama’s momentum will carry him to victory in Ohio and Texas, Clinton’s supposed “firewall” states. [The NYT]

• Arnon Mishkin writes that Obama needs to overcome voters’ apprehensions about change and race to win in two out of three remaining big states (Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania). [Real Clear Politics]

• Noam Scheiber wonders whether Clinton is impervious to Obama’s momentum, since voters seem to rally to her every time she’s about to lose. [Stump/New Republic]

• Greg Sargent questions whether Clinton’s coalition of women, Latinos, working-class voters, and the elderly will still be on her side in March after a month without a victory. [Talking Points Memo]

• Greg Giroux and Bob Benenson write that Clinton is looking ahead to the Texas and Ohio primaries but that her campaign shake-up demonstrated a recognition of the failed strategy of de-emphasizing small caucus states in favor of populous primary states. [CQ Politics]

• Michael Tomasky says that if Obama can make inroads into Clinton’s support with working-class whites, he can win. But he wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen. [Guardian]

• Walter Shapiro sorts through some endgame possibilities and fantasizes that it all comes down to one undecided superdelegate, Bill Clinton. [Salon] —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.

Pundits Size Up Obama and the Sweet Magic of Momentum