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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Barack Attack

It looks like the always poised Hillary Rodham-Clinton is suffering from a really progressive case of B.O.

B. O., in this case stands for Barack Obama.

A few weeks ago, Clinton had the whole thing wrapped up. But just
like her husband in his initial Presidential run, Obama has come out of nowhere to give
Mistress Hill a run for her money.

Read this article from the Concord Monitor:


Two weeks after speaking to a sell-out Manchester crowd of more than
1,600, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is reaping the
benefits of his visit. If the Democratic primary were held today, Obama would be in a statistical dead heat
with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, according to a new Monitor poll. Last month,
a Monitor poll showed Clinton trouncing her opponents, with Obama lagging 23 points behind.

"I'm not surprised, because Barack Obama got five days of constant media
attention in New Hampshire," said Jim Demers, a lobbyist
and former Democratic lawmaker who accompanied Obama throughout the
senator's New Hampshire visit. "Obama has
demonstrated to the people of New Hampshire that he's a top-tier candidate."

Although Clinton commands considerable support among likely Democratic
primary voters, she struggles in general election match-ups, according to the
poll. If the contest were held today, both Arizona Sen. John McCain and former
New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani would prevail over Clinton. Obama, in contrast, would eke out a
slight win over both Republican candidates. Former Democratic vice presidential
nominee John Edwards is neck-and-neck with the Republicans.

"There are a lot of independents. These are the same people who loathe
Bush, loathe the Iraq war," said Del Ali, president of Research 2000, the
Maryland-based nonpartisan polling firm that conducted the poll for the Monitor
last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. "But deep down, they don't like Hillary
Clinton."

As the 2008 presidential primaries near, the Republican field has also
become increasingly competitive. Giuliani closed the gap with McCain in recent
weeks, turning an 8-point deficit into a slight lead, according to the poll.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House speaker Newt Gingrich trail
behind, with 10 percent and 8 percent respectively. The poll shows Giuliani
garnering 26 percent to McCain's 25 percent. "McCain can't take New Hampshire
for granted the way he counted on them six years ago," said Dante Scala, a political scientist at St.
Anselm College. "If Giuliani could break through anywhere, it would be in New
Hampshire, with a large number of independents and a large number of relatively
moderate Republicans. He has the opportunity to cause John McCain a lot of
grief."

This time around, McCain can no longer rely on being a fresh face, said
Edward Mosca, a former chairman of the
Manchester Republican Committee. "You've got a limited shelf life in politics,
and he's been out there for a while," Mosca said. "I think
McCain's biggest obstacle in the primary is that he has the highest
expectations."
Roughly one year out from the New Hampshire primary,
political observers cautioned that polls offer little insight into the 2008
presidential contest. History books are full of candidates who led the polls but
lost the race: Bush, for example held a double-digit lead over McCain in a
University of New Hampshire poll conducted nine months before the primary.
McCain proceeded to rout his opponents.

"You will have this tremendous amount of energy and motion to secure
the allegiance of about 5,000 people," said Charlie Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah
Bartlett Center for Public Policy. "And nobody else is going to start paying
attention until after the summer."

But the poll does reflect name recognition, and it may hint at the
direction in which voters are leaning, analysts said.

Obama's surge in popularity is "name
recognition of an unknown, that's what's really surprising about it," said Arnie Arnesen, a political analyst and former
radio talk show host. "We're so yearning for something different, and what we
think we know about everyone else doesn't excite us."

Voters interviewed Friday afternoon echoed Arnesen's comment. Lenny Young of Concord
compared Obama's charisma to that of John F.
Kennedy. "He seems to have it," Young said. Although Young first heard of Obama during the senator's 2004 campaign,
it wasn't until Obama visited New Hampshire that he took
notice.
Concord resident Mike Sheehan had this
advice for the first-term senator: "Ride the wave." Obama's relative lack of experience - an
oft-cited criticism - is also an asset. "You figure in six years, only bad
things can happen," Sheehan said. As for Clinton, "you either
love her or you hate her," Sheehan said.

Excitement about a possible Obama run was also
reflected last week in an Iowa poll. If the Iowa Democratic caucus were held
today, former vice presidential nominee John Edwards and Obama would each secure 22 percent of the
vote, according to the poll, which was conducted by Research 2000, which also
conducted the Monitor poll.

A Clinton visit, however, would also likely boost her numbers, Demers said. "I don't think anyone can
underestimate Senator Clinton coming in, with her level of name recognition, the
role that her husband will be able to play in the campaign and the amount of
money that she has and is able to raise."

On the Republican side, Giuliani appeals to tough-on-terrorism social
moderates, Ali said. "They've turned off of McCain because of his visits to
Jerry Falwell," Ali added. During his 2000 White House bid, McCain called
Falwell, a prominent evangelical, one of the "agents of intolerance." McCain has
since met with Falwell, and recently delivered the commencement address at
Falwell's Liberty University.

The challenge for Giuliani, who is pro-choice, will come after New
Hampshire, political observers said. "I wouldn't be shocked if Giuliani won New
Hampshire," Ali said. But "what's going to happen when he goes to South
Carolina?"

In addition to the challenge from Giuliani, McCain also struggles with
his stance on the war. While most prominent lawmakers are focused on withdrawing
from Iraq, McCain has called for an increase of troops to quash the insurgency.

Support for the conflict in New Hampshire is at an all-time low,
according to the poll. Three years ago, 79 percent of Granite State voters rated
Bush's performance in handling the conflict excellent or good. Today, that
figure has plummeted to 29 percent. The vast majority - 60 percent of voters -
want troops to begin withdrawing before 2010.

Research 2000 used randomly generated telephone numbers to interview
600 likely voters. Those interviewed - 184 Democrats (31 percent), 193
Republicans (32 percent) and 223 voters who identified themselves as
independents (37 percent) - reflect voter registration numbers statewide. The
interviews included 288 men and 312 women. The poll has a 4 percent margin of
error.

For questions about the Democratic primary, Research 2000 polled
Democrats and individuals who identify as independents but said they would
likely vote in the Democratic primary. The same strategy was used for questions
about the Republican primary. In order to poll 400 likely voters about each
primary, Research 2000 conducted an over-sample, interviewing additional
residents.

Apart from who's up and who's down in the primary polls, support for
Edwards and Obama in the presidential match-ups
reflect a larger political trend, Scala said. "These
results reflect that New Hampshire is a purple state that leans toward the
Democrats."


The one thing that may put a cap on all this is a certain mindset that is still previlant in many parts of the country.

There are people who will not vote for either a black man or a woman, even though either would be the better choice (which is why Condoleeza is not running.....a being single and she hits the trifecta!). You would think we would have evolved by now. Some have, many have not.

So if either runs, the GOP will run a white, male, married gentleman.....probably, unfortunatly, McCain...and just sit back and do nothing. They may not have to.

One simply can hope that either Barack or Hillary can motivate those who have evolved in to a strong enough voting bloc to block the racists and the sexists.

yes, one can hope.

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