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April 23rd, 2008
02:02 PM ET

Why can't Barack Obama close the deal?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama missed another chance last night to knock Hillary Clinton out of the race. He beat her in Iowa, she came back and won New Hampshire. He reeled off eleven wins in a row, she came back and won Ohio and Texas. He had another clear shot at her last night and missed. It raises a question that gets more serious with each passing primary.

Why can't he put her away? Despite outspending Clinton more than 2-to-1 in Pennsylvania and waging a more aggressive campaign in the final days, Obama came up short again with many of the voters who form the traditional base of the Democratic Party. Clinton crushed him among white, blue-collar voters by 69 to 30 percent. She also won older voters, women and whites.

The last 6 weeks have tested Obama in a way he hadn't been before. There were the comments from his Pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright which he had to address, his own "bitter" remarks, and a debate performance that wasn't his finest and raised other questions like his ties to William Ayers, the former Weather Underground member.

Obama will get another chance in two weeks to perhaps end this race if he can win in North Carolina and Indiana. And it's worth noting that he continues to lead where it matters – in delegates, states won, popular vote, and he's narrowing the superdelegate gap with Clinton.

But she has succeeded in dragging him onto her playground. Obama got more aggressive and more negative in the closing days in Pennsylvania. And that might have been a mistake. He got where he is on a message of hope and the promise for a new kind of politics.

Here’s my question to you: Why can't Barack Obama close the deal?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • PA Primary
April 22nd, 2008
04:13 PM ET

Should Clinton quit if she doesn’t win Pa. by at least 10 points?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The winner of today's contest may not necessarily be the candidate who gets the most votes. In other words, all eyes will be on the margin of Hillary Clinton's victory, provided that she wins as expected.

The Los Angeles Times suggests Clinton could win but still lose. If Obama keeps the results closer than expected, he could be considered the winner. Some uncommitted superdelegates say Clinton needs to win by at least 10 points to show she hasn't lost her touch among working-class voters in a state like Pennsylvania.

If Clinton can pull that off in a state where she was outspent by more than 2-to-1, she can then try to persuade uncommitted superdelegates to support her. But if Obama keeps it close or delivers an unexpected win, the pressure will mount on Hillary Clinton to give it up.

Hillary Clinton is in trouble. A recent poll shows Democrats, by 2-to-1, think Obama is the best candidate. Some Democratic elders are starting to call for the nomination process to end sooner rather than later. She is behind in number of pledged delegates, the popular vote and the number of states won – and her once commanding lead among superdelegates is down to fewer than 30 ahead.

Insiders tell the New York Daily News the only way Clinton will drop out soon is if she loses today in Pennsylvania and runs out of money. Speaking of which, it's reported that Clinton's campaign is in debt to the tune of several million dollars.

Here’s my question to you: If Hillary Clinton doesn't win Pennsylvania by at least 10 points, should she quit the race?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • PA Primary
April 21st, 2008
05:20 PM ET

Heading into Pa., does Obama or Clinton have the advantage?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After a 6-week lull, we will actually get to hear from the voters tomorrow when Pennsylvania holds its long-awaited and much publicized primary.

The stakes are enormous. If Obama wins, Hillary Clinton may be asked by the party leaders to stay home and bake cookies. If Clinton wins – as she's expected to – the battle moves to Indiana and North Carolina.

Both campaigns are hedging expectations about tomorrow's results in Pennsylvania. An average of recent polls shows Clinton with about a seven point lead. Political experts have been saying Clinton must win Pennsylvania by double-digits for her campaign for the nomination to remain viable. Her supporters, not surprisingly, beg to differ. Clinton has vowed to carry her campaign all the way to the convention.

The two candidates have spent tons of time and money in Pennsylvania, although Obama has outspent Clinton by perhaps as much as 3-to-1.

If he's unable to get the support of blue-collar workers, it could make some uncommitted superdelegates question how strong he'd be in the general election.

Meanwhile, The Politico reports that the historic spike in Democratic voter registration could help Obama cut into Clinton's lead in Pennsylvania. One pollster has taken a look at people who have switched parties in order to vote Democrat this time around. They represent about 7% of the 2 million Democrats expected to turn out tomorrow... and 62% of them prefer Obama. This pollster says these voters could help Obama cut Clinton's margin of victory by 2 to 3 percentage points.

Here’s my question to you: Who has the advantage on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • PA Primary
April 21st, 2008
02:18 PM ET

Are the Democrats’ negative attacks working?

 Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The people of Pennsylvania probably can't wait until tomorrow's primary election is over. The campaign between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has turned into a truly nasty affair, with the two trading accusations about who's been more negative in their campaigning.

Front page stories in both today's New York Times and Washington Post talk about how Obama has sharpened his tone and his attacks on Clinton, which is a departure from how he's treated her in previous primaries. Obama is questioning whether Clinton is honest and trustworthy and going after her as an expert in old-school, special-interest politics.

For her part, Clinton is calling Obama's approach "so negative" and says he's copying Republicans in his attacks on her universal health care plan. She's suggesting his message of hope has morphed into old-style politics. Both candidates unleashed TV ads yesterday in Pennsylvania, accusing the other of holding onto ties with special interests.

Meanwhile, Obama has been gaining support from establishment figures in the Democratic party after Clinton's repeated attacks on his "bitter" remarks. Former Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren backed Obama late last week. Also, Robert Reich – President Clinton's labor secretary and a longtime friend of the Clintons – is supporting Obama, saying he was "appalled" by her "mean-spirited" attacks.

An average of polls in Pennsylvania shows Obama trailing Clinton by 7 points heading into tomorrow, which is down from her double digit lead just weeks ago. Clinton is expected to win tomorrow, but the focus will be on the margin of victory. What's not clear is who, if anyone, is gaining from all this negativity.

Here’s my question to you: How effective are personal attacks by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on each other?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • PA Primary