Commentary: Tell us something we don’t know

Even he saw it coming

Is anybody surprised that Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary? Less than three months ago–shortly after the primary season began–she held advantages of twenty to thirty points there. Her chief surrogate in the state, Governor Ed Rendell, is immensely popular and has an unmatched network of supporters and resources in one of the most politically patronizing states in the union. She rightly claimed a money disadvantage but has arguably made up for it with free media coverage–some might say obsession–of Bittergate and Jeremiah Wright. The memories of the successful nineties economy her husband presided over no doubt solidified her natural advantage among the beer drinkers in its Alabaman middle region.

For all this Mrs Clinton’s win ought not to be disregarded–down on her money and facing a few of her own press scandals, she won a tough fight fair and square. She won the right to keep moving to Indiana (North Carolina, which will hold its primary the same day, will likely favor Obama and thus see less of both candidates)–but that’s where the balloon of her fresh victory in the Quaker State loses a little air. Analysts give her an edge in the endorsements department–Senator Evan Bayh, a popular former Governor and state political magnate has been aggressively campaigning for her; she also has an edge in superdelegates there–but Obama will tap into the state’s northwest corner, which is heavily African-American and in the Chicago media market. The result is a blank slate of a race, a proving ground–one the media’s already digging in on. The New York Times has quoted several Clinton advisers admitting they’d urge her to quit if she doesn’t win in Indiana.

So let’s be clear: Clinton deserves credit for keeping it alive in Pennsylvania. But she’ll need to use all that momentum and more if she wants to keep her bid afloat past the first week of May.

Clinton beats Obama in Pennsylvania – [The New York Times]

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