Friday, December 14, 2007

Fineman: Hillary on the Brink

Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign is teetering on the brink, no matter what the meaningless national horserace numbers say. The notion that she has a post-Iowa "firewall" in New Hampshire is a fantasy, and she is in danger of losing all four early contests, including Nevada and South Carolina – probably to Sen. Barack Obama, who is now, in momentum terms, the Democratic frontrunner.

As always, pundits tend to exaggerate to get noticed.  It wouldn't surprise me at all if the Clinton campaign has decided they need to lower expectations so they can play a "comeback kid" theme.  Blame the Republicans for pushing her numbers down with lies, then pull out a narrow victory and run away with the nomination.  The trick is deciding how much she has to knock down Obama.  They'd rather hit Republicans.  Their lame attempt to play the "drug card" against Obama has backfired badly.  I don't think they want to get into that anymore.  And as I've said before, the Oprah endorsement is really difficult to counter directly.  She's the most likable person on TV and Obama is perhaps becoming the most likable presidential candidate.  Hillary is notoriously weak on the likability scale.  Her campaign looked everywhere for a famous person who liked her and came up with her mother.  That's not saying much compared to Oprah.  On the other hand, Hillary (and Bill) own the Democratic establishment.  No doubt they're working on an Al Gore endorsement right now.  They gave him only luke warm support when he ran, but now he looks like a King Maker for the Democrats.  I wonder how they could motivated him, or punish him for not coming out for Hillary? This could get ugly.  As Hillary says, the fun part starts now.

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