Clinton vs. Obama: Where’s the Finish Line?

I think it would be criminal to rehash the subject again this week, since the media outlets have temporarily shelved it, so I promise to leave the offending name out of public view. Of course, we need to take note that despite the fusillade of accusations from his fiercest critics, and the reverend’s burlesque that distracted from the real campaign issues and threatened to undermine the effectiveness of his campaign, Barack Obama has still managed to maintain the distance of a few lengths ahead of the rival Clinton camp. And he didn’t have to sling mud either.

But the Clinton camp is showing no signs of packing it in, regardless of the political obituaries from pundits who can smell the demise of her campaign, in the face of the superdelegates crossing the floor in increasing numbers to endorse Obama, those Clinton life-long friends delivering the unkindest cut of all.

Reports show Rep. Donald Payne of New Jersey, former Clinton supporter and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus as being the latest Clinton camp deserter. “After careful consideration, I have reached the conclusion that Barack Obama can best bring about the change that our country so desperately wants and needs,” said Payne, still maintaining that his close friendship with Clinton is intact.

The mass migration didn’t stop with Payne. In addition to two members of the Democratic National Committee from California, there were Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and a party official in South Carolina announced their support for Obama. Superdelegates from New Mexico and Virginia followed suit. What is behind the decision in favor of Obama?

John Gage, President of the American Federation of Government Employees and himself a “defector”, was quite spirited in his support. He explained, “Our people, I think, recognize the enthusiasm and vitality behind Senator Obama’s campaign.” His people? Approximately 600,000 members in the association.

Obama still managed to maintain a sober demeanor, even as reporters rushed to crown him the presumptive Democratic nominee. He’d rather wait for it to be official: “I’m gratified that we’ve got some superdelegates who are coming our way. And I think we’ve got a strong case to make that I will be a nominee that can pull the party together and take on John McCain. Our focus has always been on the pledged delegates and just getting the American people to vote for us. And we think that ultimately that should be the strongest measure of who’s the nominee.”

Obama’s measured tones of reason have not been lost on James Carville, the cadaverous-looking CNN political strategist and Clinton confidante, who had tongue-lashed New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, labelling him a “Judas” for endorsing Obama. Carville suggested in a statement to Newsweek just last week that the ballsy Clinton could inject some toughness in Obama: “If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.”

In the overall race for the nomination, Obama leads with 1,859.5 delegates, to 1,698 for Clinton. Obama is just 165.5 delegates short of the 2,025 delegates needed to claim victory.

With dwindling campaign funds to add to her woes, the signs of defeat are popping up all around her, but Clinton appears to be digging in her heels for a long haul campaign. In her Darwininan dash for the White House, she may just plan to kick, claw, bite or scratch her way to victory.

     

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