Barack Obama jumped ahead of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire polls two days ahead of the state’s Tuesday presidential primary. The Democratic rivals were tied before Obama’s campaign apparently got a big boost from his win in the Iowa caucuses. Clinton, who finished third in Iowa behind Obama and former senator John Edwards, tweaked her campaign’s message to the idea that Obama’s message of change was all talk and no action. (The Washington Post, free registration)
What the commentators said
Obama’s “meteoric rise in Iowa has shaken the New Hampshire landscape,” said Jessica Van Sack in the Boston Herald. Weeks after he forced Clinton to steal a page from his playbook and call for change, Republican presidential hopefuls have started echoing his message in an effort to tout their ability to defeat Obama in the fall.
New Hampshire may be Clinton’s last chance to stop Obama, said David Broder in The Washington Post (free registration). By doing so well in two of the “whitest” states in the country, Obama has “shown crossover appeal that defies conventional wisdom about the limits an African American candidate will face.” Politicians in both parties have suddenly realized that he could be “the most electable candidate the Democrats have fielded in many years.”
Obama shattered some assumptions about gender with his big win in Iowa, said Lucy Berrington and Jeff Onore in the New York Post (free registration). He won over a “large and apparently decisive bloc of voters widely thought to be” Clinton’s—young to middle-aged women. His appeal may stem from his embodiment of many qualities we see as feminine—he’s “sensitive and empathetic, seeking to find common ground and minimize conflict, not taking power for granted.”
“Obama embodies more than he can know,” said James Carroll in The Boston Globe (free registration). “‘Change’ is his mantra, but the potential for transformation goes far beyond the kinds of policies pursued in Washington.” As the first African-American “competing seriously” for the presidency, he could be the one who helps the nation move beyond the “racial injustice” that has been a “hallmark of life in the United States” since the days of slavery.