early and often

Pundits Weigh Obama’s Kentucky Drubbing

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Last night, as expected (and detailed here), Clinton walloped Obama in Kentucky, and Obama soundly beat Clinton in Oregon. Clinton netted somewhere around 150,000 popular votes over Obama, but they’ll be about as useful as $150,000 on the Lost island: She can’t spend it on anything, and it won’t help her defeat the smoke monster. Which is why Obama sounded cautiously triumphant last night in his Iowa speech. But while he’s on the verge of officially clinching the nomination, Obama has more discouraging exit polls to ponder.

• Noam Scheiber is “agnostic” on Obama’s speech last night: On the one hand, it took attention away from Clinton’s Kentucky victory, but while he was very gracious, it could have alienated Clinton voters. It was also a “logical conclusion” to the Obama campaign’s strategy of obsessing over pledged delegates. [Stump/New Republic]

• Jim Geraghty thinks Obama is overplaying his hand: He’s basically had the nomination locked up since North Carolina. Why not let Clinton leave on her own terms and stop “telling us that he’s winning”? He should have given last night’s speech in Oregon and focused more on Senator Kennedy’s health. [Campaign Spot/National Review]

• Marc Ambinder says Obama “turned the page” toward the general election with his speech last night. [Atlantic]

• Franklin Foer noticed some subtle new additions to Obama’s speech-making: He mentioned Seneca Falls for the benefit of Clinton’s supporters, and “sportsmen” and “churchgoers” for that of the general election. [Plank/New Republic]

• Roger Simon wonders what Clinton’s argument to the superdelegates is now, as there was nothing in last night’s speech to sway them. [Politico]

• Gerard Baker says that nothing last night “alters the general impression that Sen. Clinton will be forced to concede defeat eventually.” [Times UK]

• Alessandra Stanley notes that last night’s television coverage reflected the perception that the race is over. [NYT]

• John Dickerson writes that after Obama gained a majority of pledged delegates last night, “a race that was already all but over is now a little more so.” Meanwhile, Clinton shows no signs of exiting the race and is making it harder for Obama to push her out. [Slate]

• Andrew Romano thinks the night’s most “salacious” exit-poll numbers were those showing that 92 percent of Kentucky Clinton supporters would be dissatisfied if Obama is the Democratic nominee. But Gallup’s tracking poll shows that Democrats are beginning to unify around Obama. [Stumper/Newsweek ]

• Chris Cillizza calls the results in Kentucky “stark.” Perhaps Obama’s drubbing among the white blue-collar voters of Kentucky won’t matter in the general election, but it’s certainly on the minds of party strategists. [Fix/WP]

• Matthew Yglesias looks at some exit polls and concludes that Kentucky voters “just really, really, really don’t like Barack Obama.” [Atlantic] —Dan Amira

Earlier: Hillary Crushes in Kentucky, Oregon Backs Obama

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.

Pundits Weigh Obama’s Kentucky Drubbing