Friday, February 29, 2008

11-0, back to the wall?

The Clinton campaign made a modest little attempt today to spin expectations:
To: Interested Parties

From: The Clinton Campaign

Date: Friday, February 29, 2008

RE: Obama Must-Wins

The media has anointed Barack Obama the presumptive nominee and he's playing the part.

With an eleven state winning streak coming out of February, Senator Obama is riding a surge of momentum that has enabled him to pour unprecedented resources into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont.

The Obama campaign and its allies are outspending us two to one in paid media and have sent more staff into the March 4 states. In fact, when all is totaled, Senator Obama and his allies have outspent Senator Clinton by a margin of $18.4 million to $9.2 million on advertising in the four states that are voting next Tuesday.

Senator Obama has campaigned hard in these states. He has spent time meeting editorial boards, courting endorsers, holding rallies, and - of course - making speeches.

If he cannot win all of these states with all this effort, there's a problem.

Should Senator Obama fail to score decisive victories with all of the resources and effort he is bringing to bear, the message will be clear:

Democrats, the majority of whom have favored Hillary in the primary contests held to date, have their doubts about Senator Obama and are having second thoughts about him as a prospective standard-bearer.

There's been no lack of incredulity in the face of this the-more-you-win-the-bigger-you- have-to-win-to-stay-even logic (best comment on Ambinder, by Lampwick: "so what they're saying is that a 1-14 win/loss streak would trump a 14-1 win/loss streak"). But the weirdness here is more than mathematical. One sideswipe in particular struck me as even odder than the main premise:
Senator Obama has campaigned hard in these states. He has spent time meeting editorial boards, courting endorsers, holding rallies, and - of course - making speeches.
A candidate who makes speeches! How opportunistic! How shallow! Can't be trusted with the red phone...

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