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Obama's subdued, while Clinton beams

Obama lost primaries in Ohio and Rhode Island to Senator Hillary Clinton.

With the Democratic presidential race essentially back to square one, the two contenders for the nod could hardly have delivered more starkly contrasting messages Tuesday night. Nor could they have projected more dramatically different auras.

Hillary Clinton -- having proved that, like her husband, she seems to perform best when she's on the ropes -- beamed in Ohio as she celebrated her impressive victory in that state's primary. She was going to end up with a solid winning margin -- which by itself, she stressed, was enough to propel her on, regardless of what happened in the more closely contested Texas primary. (After she spoke, she eked out a narrow triumph in that state, as well.)

She also was feisty, keeping Barack Obama squarely in her sights. She took a few obligatory pokes at John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, but it was her Democratic rival that was the target of none-too-subtle barb after barb.

Obama had the opportunity to knock Clinton out of the ring going into Tuesday's voting. Instead, Clinton not only kept the fight going, it appears she now has the sense that Obama may not be able to take a punch.

Her unyielding mantra of late -- that Obama is mostly talk, with little substance to back it up -- finally seemed to hit home over the past few days. And she signaled that ...

she'll be pressing that case even more.

Time and again, she gave her adoring crowd a variation of this basic theme: Obama offers speeches, she offers solutions. In case anyone missed the point, she wrapped up her speech with a phrase incorporating Obama's favorite noun, saying she was the one who could turn "hope into reality."

It was a subdued, almost grim-looking Obama who took the stage a few minutes later in San Antonio. There was no preempting her remarks on this night, as he had two weeks ago after thumping her in the Wisconsin primary. Nor was there the bounce in his step that had marked a month's worth of victory speeches he had been giving.

He struck a gentlemanly manner from the start, conveying his congratulations to Clinton on her wins in Ohio and Rhode Island, one of the day's other primaries. And he noted that he had called McCain to congratulate him on officially wrapping up the GOP race.

Obama, in something of a disconnect, then focused his fire on McCain, depicting him as a clone of President Bush. There was almost a wistful quality to the moment -- this is the speech he obviously had hoped to give, the speech that presupposed a Democratic battle that was virtually over.

It's anything but finished, of course, and as Obama finally looked ahead to that reality, the signal he sent out was more muted than Clinton's.

He insisted he would press the argument that his eloquence is anything but empty. And he ended with an anecdote featuring an elderly Ugandan who, he said, is following the campaign closely. "The world is watching what we do here," Obama said, and how the candidates treat one another.

All well and good. But it would seem his more immediate concern needs to be the Pennsylvanians who vote in the party's next major primary, on April 22. You can be sure they're uppermost in Clinton's mind.

-- Don Frederick 

Comments () | Archives (28)

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This one of the most exciting nights I have had in many, many weeks...I am so happy....YES!.....our people stood up and were counted.

Our people were not all taken in by his winsome grin. Never smile at a Crocodille folks!

More will be revealed about the dark man. More will be revealed about the activist woman beside him. Those folks are not there to promote the advancement of whites, no sir.

I hoped, I prayed, I cried out to the four winds and they heard me.

The fact that Clinton could under pressure of dropping out of the race, managed to bounce back to win speaks volume of her tenacity and fortitude. This kind of never-say-die attitude is needed for a commander in chief. She has my vote!

The Clinton bias here is fascinating. What the hell does "...she eked out a narrow triumph in that state, as well..." mean? Is a scant win eked-out a "triumph?" Scarcely. In fact, if Obama wins Edwards' endorsement, the Clinton margin is all but wiped out in Texas.

Clinton won Ohio. Texas denied Obama a knockout win, but it's the narrowest of losses and not devastating on the delegate count. Clinton's traction really amounts to a single-state appeal. Let's see whether it's repeatable. The reality remains that momentum for Clinton just drives swing voters into McCain's arms. Democrats must understand that support for Clinton makes continued Republican residence in the White House more likely.

Obama should stop calling her Hillary.

She called him an empty suit. It's done, the friendship they had is over. It's really a war of opinion to wage now.

Mrs. Clinton is her formal title. He is running against Bill as well. Keep them together with that statement.

Not Senator Clinton, just Mrs. Clinton.

She is trying to portray her independence as Hillary Rodham. Hiding Bill on the campaign trail but he's out there campaigning.

She conned the media! She slams Obama, he has to answer that NAFTA memo. Her campaign labeled it NAFTA-gate.

She used to say Right Wing Conspiracy in the 90's. Media didn't run to a Right Wing conspirator and demand he had to answer her complaining back then!

She has alligator skin under media glare, it wasn't unfair reporting whining.

It was a set up , her complaining then has a softer side. She's fighting the women fight against men in the media!

She's been in front of camera's for decades! Knows how to manipulate her image too.

Obama has to get more personal with her though he doesn't want to.

Call her Mrs. from now on is a start.

He can still win the Democratic nomination, but a friendship maybe has already ended.

Even generously assuming that Hillary wins 55-45 in every state from now on, she will still be short in pledged delegates (albeit not by much). Obama's lead assures that he controls the credential committee, which decides the fate of Florida and Michigan's delegates. He's certainly not going to seat them as is.

Then again, to deny the votes of two giant swing states is fatally bad PR, so he'll probably agree to a compromise -- preferably of the caucus kind. But don't forget that In Michigan Hillary only took 55% without Obama even on the darned ballot. Maybe a new primary would be favorable to Obama, who has more money to spend.

The closer we get the bigger the superdelegates loom. Despite Bill Richardson's silly comments that each should obey the will of their state voters (if that were true, then why even have superdelegates?) the superdelegates will probably act as a pre-brokered convention behind closed doors, since the one thing they all have in common is the desire to win in November.

With all due respect to Hillary's hard work and perseverance, unless the national polls show her doing better than a 4% loss to McCain, the superdelegates will go with Obama (who looks to have about a 5% lead against McCain if polls are averaged.)

The nomination will be decided by electability, as revealed by hard cold numbers. Speeches and sentiment will mean little at the wire. Hillary should therefore focus on moderate Republicans, but that's hard to do because she has to focus on winning Pennsylvania first with an entirely different message.

Obama has the edge. I just hope they keep it civil.

And Pennsylvania is very much like Ohio too. I once lived in between those two states in Wheeling, WV, and I found little difference in the mentality of the people in the area belonging to those two states. Most of rural Pennsylvania will likely go to Clinton on April 22.

Having heard no substance coming out of the mouths
Sen. Obama and his supporters, the double standards Sen. Clinton suffered, and politicans running from her to him with their endorsements lats reuslts cannot surprise anyone. Although Mrs. Clinton isn´t my ideal candidate, the last month of Obama worship and less than stellar reporting about the race have pushed me away for him into the Clinton camp.

Obama keeps on lying about everything just so he can win. But you know what they say about liars? There will come a day when they cant keep up with it anymore. That day has come for Obama. People now see thru his lies.

And its just about time.

It was a Clinton victory so why the Oboma photo?

Year of the RAT prediction (Chinese Astrology)

Hilary Clinton will be the next US President. When she sees a rat, she will scream with tears in her eyes. Women will give her their votes because they also scream when they see a rat. Men will also give her their votes because they want to protect the fair sex.

The tone of your article exaggerates the significance of Clinton's perceived victory. In essence, she moved 27 delegates closer to Obama, who still leads her by a likely insurmountable amount (close to 100 delegates). What you called subdued was in reality a smart subdude who continued to be focused on the real issue: beating McCain in November, inspite of Clinton's incredibly self-serving dishonest and personal attacks on the 'inevitable' nominee of her supposed Party. The thought that, after 8 years of horror in the White House, the prospect of a continuation of the same disasterous policies is becoming more and more real is staggering. Hillary, do the math: if you can't win, don't do John McCain/George Bush's work for them, in probing Obama, a candidate of knowledge, ideas and integrity, for weaknesses in the electorate's media-addled 'brain'. If Obama appeared 'subdued' perhaps it was in wonderment that, when a clear path to victory in November was within sight, Clinton lay down in that path and refused to let the Democrats finally unite behind a winner. And to close with this thought, a month ago, Clinton had 'double digit' margins in both Texas and Ohio; it was only her relentless and vicious gratuitious attacks on Obama's image rather than his substance, that won these two states, and by much more disappointing margins. I'm sorry if I appear bitter, but I do believe those are the facts. No, I do not like Clinton, but it's far more than personal.

You people are hilarious! Hilary STILL CAN'T WIN! For goodness sakes - DO THE MATH! Hillary desperately wants Obama as her VP. That is the only way she can beat McCain and I'd rather vote for McCain than Hillary!

using roves' tactics has brought her the victory that the republicans have worked so hard at. get ready for another republican president. clinton will galvanized the far right.

"Bill Clinton seemed to perform best when on the ropes," true...Just like Senator Kennedy. However, the Massachusettes senator's legacy will always be upstaged by Mary Jo Kopechne and Chappaquiddick. Look at him now. A pathetic, over-sexed, butt of the jokes icon whose public's only interest in him is when he'll kick the bucket.

Bill Clinton's "jewels" on his crown are Monica Lewinsky, the Oval Office, Cigars and the desk.

Hillary Clinton will always have to dodge that question, "What really happened to Vince Foster?"

By the way before 1942, Adolf Hilter performed best when confronted with adversity. Bad example, but his fate will be duplicated to some degree with these politicians.

Again, poetic justice has a funny way of resurfacing.

As a resident of the state of N.Y., I cannot, for the life of me, see why anyone in hell would vote for Hillary Clinton. As our senator in N.Y., she has done nothing but run for the presidency since she got here. She's a carpetbagger and a phony, nothing more. Jobs keep leaving, our taxes are among the highest in the nation and yet she has managed to convince people that she's a leader. Please.

I'll say it again. She has done nothing here. And you can expect more of the same if she becomes your president.

20% of the voters in Ohio said their vote was affected by race, and of those 80% or 16% of the total vote was for Hillary. I guess playing the race card works.

The delegate count is what counts and she hardly improved her position and leads by over 100+ delegates.

Hillary needs 94% of the remaining pledged delegates to reach the necessary number. Hillary is toast, she knows it, and now she's pandering a "Dream" ticket. She NEEDS Obama to beat McCain. Obama doesn't need Hillary.

HRC's "victories" are pretty hollow when you consider how nasty she had to get to secure them. And what's her response when asked about her negative campaigning? "Oh, the Republicans will do much worse than that in the general election!" Yeah, that's great, model your behavior after the likes of Karl Rove.

Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh are falling all over themselves praising Hillary for the nomination. Hmmm, wonder why that is? From the party that gave us that powerhouse trio of McGovern, Dukakis and Kerry, we present our weakest candidate possible"Hillary R. Clinton". Have a nice election...

He can still win the Democratic nomination, but a friendship maybe has already ended.

Posted by: Marks | March 05, 2008 at 12:01 AM

That friendship ended after the same newbie Senator sought out and approached Hillary for "advice" and for "mentoring", then turned around and waged a whisper campaign about how the "Clinton's are racist".



Obama on the Iraq Resolution?

"So it’s not clear to me what differences we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate. I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq, although I’m always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices. So that might be something that sort of is obvious. But, again, we were in different circumstances at that time: I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test." [The New Yorker, 10/30/06]

"Not only was the idea of an invasion increasingly popular, but on the merits I didn't consider the case against war to be cut-and- dried." ["Audacity of Hope," 2006, p. 294]

Obama is a ultimately a joke, and should defer to Hillary...a seasoned winner. I don't want a lightweight at the helm of America at a most crucial moment in history.

OBAMA should be the one ashamed.

As a resident of the state of N.Y., I cannot, for the life of me, see why anyone in hell would vote for Hillary Clinton. As our senator in N.Y., she has done nothing but run for the presidency since she got here. She's a carpetbagger and a phony, nothing more. Jobs keep leaving, our taxes are among the highest in the nation and yet she has managed to convince people that she's a leader. Please.

I'll say it again. She has done nothing here. And you can expect more of the same if she becomes your president.

Posted by: mj | March 05, 2008 at 07:57 AM

Wow, as a former Chicagoan you could insert "Obama" in place of "Hillary" and you get the same exact truth.

They really ARE exactly alike.

Obama qoutes an Ugandan? YEAH RIGHT. Just look at the state of affairs in that country. It would seem Obama could find a more credible character to quote than someone from that territory where there is nothing but violence and bloodshed. That is most likely what we would be looking at here in America should the man with the Kenyan roots become our president. NO THANK YOU, and a big THANK YOU TO TEXAS, RHODE ISLAND, and OHIO. Don't Mess With Texas is one thing but DON'T MESS WITH AMERICA IS ANOTHER MORE IMPORTANT MATTER.

Hillary is extremely devisive, untrustworthy and dishonest. I would love for the Dems to win the White House, but I absolutely will not condone her Rovian-style of race-bating politics by voting for her. Unlike the Clinton's, I would never throw my morals out the window for selfish personal aspirations.

The Clintons CAN NOT WIN. The math is just not there. She can piss and moan all she wants about FLA and MI, but those delegates (as they stand now) will not decide this election. Pelosi and Dean have made that abundantly clear.

The Clinton's do not know the word unity. They will drag this out until the Dems have no chance to win in Nov., and THAT will be their legacy. They are as shady and crooked as politicians come.

Obama can't win enough delegates to win without superdelegates.
Clinton can't win enough delegates to win without superdelegates.
This is a nominating process designed by idiots.
I say that as lifelong Democrat.
Obama's ability to organize and win delegates in caucus states does not transfer to the General Election. Useless.
His losses in Primaries do transfer to the General Election. Losses.
Obama had a chance to create the perception of a knockout in 4 states. He way outspent Clinton to punch her back into the history books. He failed.
Over 300,000 more people voted for Clinton yesterday.
He failed!


I guess the fact that she had a 20 point lead in those states 2 weeks prior to that election was missed on you...

The blind leading the blind is what we saw yesterday.

Hillary kicked butt last night..double digit win in the must win november state of OHIO.

the chinks in the Messiah's armor are starting to show..can you say REZKO..let the process wend it's way forward..We are eager for change...but blind belief will get you nowhere. fast..let obama mature and season ..or not. HE ran out of the room the other day when reporters FINALLY started asking him some real questions..

and btw...Hillary Clinton RE-ELECTED to a second term by a huge majority in New York. She has twice the US Senate experience of yes it's Senator Clinton..whether you like it or not.

Hillary Clinton has won in three of the four states... but how did she win? By trashing her opponent in a very nasty and Republican style attack - not by advocating her own policies and person. This is a dark path to follow. It may result in her winning the nomination, but it's very unlikely she will win in November without Obama's support and his coalition. I don't see her getting it this way.

The American People seem not to know who they are or exactly what they want. In this environment the corporate interests which control both parties will keep that contral and keep it easily simply because they do know who they are and what they want.

I would much perfer a Democrat in the White House, but another Dick Cheney-Karl Rove type administration is unacceptable, even if they are Democrats. Hillary's campaign has shown a troubling propensity for taking the low road. If she wins by these tactics you can be sure she will govern by them as well.

I can feel Nader's support growing by the minute.

clinton will destroy the democratic party by trying to seat delegates from michigan and florida at the convention.

she has no other path to the nomination.

the super delegates need to save the party before it's too late

there is no way clinton can beat mccain

In a bigger picture, Obama is 36 years old. He has everything to gain and really nothing to lose. Should he not succeed this year, he has definitely placed himself on the A-list of political figures and has perhaps made him the front runner for the 2012 campaign.

Hillary, on the other hand, has everything to lose and nothing to gain. Her obsession, literally, to create history has divided the Democrats, create a two headed beast which undermines the dynamic of a presidential campaign and displayed what people already know but are too politically correct to admit, her lack of integrity.

Their duel has been intriguing and on one hand has awakened the nation's interest in politics, if only for a season. On the other hand, I'm one of those who will vote for McCain, should Obama not win the nomination McCain...I think that is the mood of our nation.

A Clinton victory, then having to go against a united Republican camp backing McCain? Attacks on her political experience will only be the icing. Hillary will shed more tears, after the Republicans get through thrashing her, those tears WILL BE REAL.

(Actually, Obama is 10 years older than your figure. You're correct, he remains young in the business of politics. But regardless of age, you only get so many tries, it seems, before people start thinking of you as a has-been, regardless of age.)


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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