If yesterday's back-and-forth conference calls were any indication, the Clinton v. Obama race is going to nastier and more personal. "Obama communications director Robert Gibbs called on Clinton to release full post-White House tax returns; disclose all 'earmarks,' or pet projects, the New York senator had inserted into spending bills; and release all documents on the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Presidential Library, including a list of donors."
"'This is a tried and true technique of the Obama campaign that has repeatedly shifted negative when they find the momentum working against them,' said senior Clinton strategist Mark Penn. He suggested the Obama campaign was trying to 'deflect public opinion from their losses in Ohio and Texas' and from Clinton's strength in Pennsylvania."
Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson made a great point during his campaign's response call: If the Obama campaign was so sure this race was wrapped up on the delegate front, then why were they preparing a full-frontal assault? While many of us can't find a delegate path for Obama, Wolfson claims the Obama campaign must have found one. Also of note from yesterday's conf. calls, NBC/NJ's Athena Jones notes: For at least the third time in the last two days, when given an opportunity to comment on Obama's handling of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the campaign declined.
Indeed, NBC's Abby Livingston reports that while campaigning on Saturday, Clinton was asked about Wright. She said, "I think those are questions for Senator Obama and for the Obama campaign."
The Washington Post looks at the swing vote demo group we've been talking about for some time: white men. "The competition for the support of white men, particularly those defined as working class, will shape the showdown between Clinton and Obama in Pennsylvania's Democratic presidential primary on April 22. Obama (Ill.) won majorities among those voters in what appeared to be breakthrough victories in Wisconsin and Virginia last month. But he badly lost working-class white men to Clinton (N.Y.) in Ohio and Texas two weeks ago, keeping the outcome of the Democratic race in doubt indefinitely."
Well, this will feed the blog conspiracy theorists. The Boston Globe takes a look at the sudden spike in GOP support for Clinton ever since McCain wrapped up the GOP nod. "Spurred by conservative talk radio, GOP voters who say they would never back Clinton in a general election are voting for her now for strategic reasons: Some want to prolong her bitter nomination battle with Barack Obama, others believe she would be easier to beat than Obama in the fall, or they simply want to register objections to Obama. 'It's as simple as, I don't think McCain can beat Obama if Obama is the Democratic choice," said Kyle Britt, 49, a Republican-leaning independent from Huntsville, Texas, who voted for Clinton in the March 4 primary. 'I do believe Hillary can mobilize enough [anti-Clinton] people to keep her out of office.'"
This is one of those talking points the Clinton campaign has been embracing but in its own way: In conference call after conference call, Mark Penn has been crowing about Clinton's growing support among Republicans.
In a memo it has released before Clinton's Iraq speech today, the Clinton campaign says:
"Over the last few weeks, the question of who is most ready to be commander-in-chief has rightfully dominated the presidential campaign. Who is ready to take the 3am call? Who has a record of action on national security issues? Who is ready to be president on day one? Senator Clinton has worked to answer these questions by presenting her record to voters and enabling them to judge her based on the record she has amassed during her 35 years of public service - as a first lady who traveled to 82 countries and as a U.S. Senator who sits on the Armed Services Committee."
"Lacking a comparable record, Senator Obama has premised his campaign on just words, most notably the resounding speech he delivered in October 2002 against the Iraq war."