early and often

Primary Race Sapping the Democrats As Never Before

Clinton and Obama

Photo: Getty Images

Late last week the acrimonious battle of Democratic surrogates came once again to the fore. In an over-the-top but undeniably timely bit of rhetoric, James Carville claimed Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton was comparable to Judas betraying Jesus. Meanwhile, Obama’s campaign co-chairman, retired General Merill “Tony” McPeak, claimed Bill Clinton was employing McCarthyist tactics when he said an election between Clinton and McCain would be between “two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country.” Hillary Clinton isn’t the son of God, and despite the suggestions to the contrary, not everything Bill Clinton says is a veiled attack on Obama. But clearly the Democratic candidates are maintaining a level of bitter infighting that — with a lot of time left on the clock — many inside the party find more troubling than ever.

• John Harwood writes that Democratic operatives are eager to end the primary battle and commence with their plan to tear apart McCain’s image as a straight-talker, which they expect to be a long and difficult process. [Caucus/NYT]

• Noam Scheiber points out that Democratic dirty laundry is pushing the little negative attention McCain receives into the background. McCain’s recent trouble with Boeing was barely a blip compared to the Geraldine Ferraro situation. [New Republic]

• Fred Barnes calls McCain “one lucky fellow” for being the beneficiary of everything happening in the Democratic race. If Clinton wins, it means the party will not be united come fall; if Obama wins, he’ll have been damaged by Clinton’s “kitchen sink” strategy. [Weekly Standard]

• Cenk Uygur wonders whether Clinton is staying in the race to set herself up for a run in 2012. The more she bloodies Obama, the more likely it is he’ll lose to McCain and she’ll have an opening to seek the Democratic nomination in four years. [HuffPo]

• Walter Shapiro thinks the real problem with the protracted primary season is that voters are being presented with substantial new events and information long after they’ve had their say. [Salon]

• Robert Novak foresees more dark days, writing that the Democrats’ dilemma is deepened with the knowledge that Clinton will do anything to win. [Town Hall]

• Andrew Sullivan notes that Obama’s negatives are at their highest ever and blames it on Fox News and Clinton. [Atlantic] —Dan Amira

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

Primary Race Sapping the Democrats As Never Before