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May 6: The IN crossover dribble

NORTH CAROLINA: A CNN poll released over the weekend had Obama leading Clinton by eight points in North Carolina, 50%-42%.

INDIANA: A new Suffolk University poll (conducted May 3-4, MOE +/- 4%) has Clinton leading Obama in the Hoosier State, 49%-43%. "Despite Clinton's lead," the release says, "Obama was seen as more popular (58% favorable -- 29% unfavorable) than Clinton (53% favorable -- 36% unfavorable). In addition, slightly more voters said that Obama (35%) would be the next president, compared to 28% for Clinton and 25 percent for McCain. 

What will be the unintended consequence of so many Indiana Republicans crossing over and voting in the Dem primary? Could it spell problems for incumbent GOP candidates because the electorate will be so conservative?

Per TPM, Clinton dropped attack mailer in Indiana against Obama on guns. "Where does Barack Obama stand on guns?" it asks. "Depends on who he's talking to." And it also says, "And just this month, Barack Obama accused people in rural places and small towns of being 'bitter' people who 'cling to guns.'"

But Politico's Ben Smith notes the mailer contains a gaffe. "Hillary Clinton's mailing attacking Sen. Barack Obama's record on guns appears to include a striking visual gaffe: The image of the gun pictured on the face of the mailing is reversed, making it a nonexistent left-handed model of the Mauser 66 rifle. To make matters worse, a prominent gun dealer said, it's an expensive German gun with customized features that make it clearly European." 

The Boston Globe looks at the Catholic vote. "The gathering of Catholics for Obama near Notre Dame last week reinforced a perception that if Obama has a weakness among Catholics, it is with those who fit into other demographic subdivisions: women and older, less educated and lower-income voters, groups that Clinton has attracted. Conversely, the group that met in South Bend represented Obama's demographic strengths among the more educated, affluent, and, except for a small group of Notre Dame faculty members who attended, younger voters."

In her speech last night at the Indiana Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, Clinton laid claim to the "Hoosier spirit," NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli reports. "If there's one thing you know about me, I am no shrinking violet," she said. "I may stumble, I may get knocked down but I will always get right, and I will never quit until the job is finished… That's the Hoosier spirit."
 
Clinton announced that her family has combined for 100 stops in the state, saying she has found that in her travels she has seen that "Hoosiers are the kind of hard-working people who keep this country going and growing." "And it is time that you had a president who knows that middle-class Americans are the backbone of this economy and the guarantor of the American dream," she said. "You deserve a president who will work with you to make Indiana an engine of prosperity. So with the Indy 500 right around the corner, let me ask you, Indiana Democrats: Are you ready to start your engines and get America going again?"

Obama's speech, meanwhile, focused on economic issues and on unifying people across racial, regional, and party lines, NBC/NJ's Athena Jones notes. "We have always been at our best -- our party, the Democratic Party -- when we summon the entire nation to lead not by polls but by principles, not by calculation but by conviction," he said. "When we say to the entire nation, we are calling you to a higher purpose, a common purpose. That's the party that America needs us to be right now and that's the choice that confronts the voters in Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday."

Obama briefly on the major issues from his platform, from health care and clean energy to education and ending the war in Iraq. He was introduced by former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D), who called him "the candidate who can reshape the contours of American politics and bring us together again."

Per NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan, Howard Dean also addressed the dinner. "We are going to win the presidency. The truth is that the only thing that's going to stop us from winning the presidency is ourselves. We need to support whichever candidate wins the nomination," he told the crowd. "This is a tough race there are candidates who are deeply committed to the candidates that you came here for and to see and deeply committed are working so hard, from other states, state after state, giving the most money they can afford to give, working leaving their families behind," Dean said, acknowledging the massive effort that both candidates campaigns and supporters have put into winning the race."