Barack Obama has a 10-percentage-point lead over Hillary Clinton among Democrats asked who should be their party’s presidential nominee, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. (The Washington Post, free registration) But Obama appears to have lost momentum in Pennsylvania, where he was chipping away at Clinton’s lead until around the time of his remarks about bitter small town voters clinging to guns and religion. A new Quinnipiac University survey showed Clinton with a 6-point lead—the same as a week earlier but down from 20 percent earlier—in the state, which holds its primary on Tuesday. (The Boston Globe, free registration)
What the commentators said
Most polls show Obama is no longer gaining ground in Pennsylvania, said Daniel Nichanian in The Huffington Post, but it’s impossible to say whether “bitter-gate” is to blame. The Quinnipiac survey probably has the best reputation of several polls out there confirming the trend, but many of the interviews took place before Obama’s remarks were made public. But Clinton is trying to capitalize on all the coverage, nonetheless, by “adding hype to bitter-gate” with an event trumpeting the “collective endorsement” of 100 Pennsylvania mayors.
Establishment Democrats are split on whether Obama’s comments will matter, said Kirsten Powers in the New York Post (free registration). “But voters need more time to absorb the comments.” It may not be enough to derail his quest for the party’s nomination, but he certainly has given Republicans ammunition for November. “Obama may or may not be an elitist, but he inherits the legacy of a party that has fought the label since Adlai Stevenson.”
The truth is there is no significant difference between Obama and Clinton on guns and religion, said The New York Times in an editorial (free registration). But “there are many big problems to discuss and not enough discussion of them.” Iraq and Afghanistan, anyone? Or how about “the trashing of America’s global image, inequitable taxes, a flagging economy, epidemic home foreclosures, lost jobs, soaring health care costs and struggling schools”? Let’s hope the Democrats start talking about things that really matter at Wednesday’s debate in Pennsylvania.
You’re kidding yourself if you think these comments don’t matter, said Kathleen Parker in National Review Online. His remarks were deeply offensive to “too many generations of Americans who have enriched the sod of flyover country and elsewhere with their blood, sweat, and toil—precisely so that a Barack Obama might some day aim for the White House—to dismiss them so glibly.” The more Obama tries to brush away his careless “elitist” words, the more they burn into the psyche of “regular folk.”