Tough times in the Obama campaign

May 2, 2008 7:34:44 PM PDT
In the Democratic race for president, polls show Hillary Clinton is gaining on Barack Obama in both Indiana and North Carolina. Voters in those states head to the polls next Tuesday.

Two weeks ago it looked like Obama would win big in North Carolina, and just last week he was a little bit ahead in Indiana. That was before Rev. Jeremiah Wright's latest speaking tour.

Campaigning in Indiana on Friday, Obama is trying to put his former pastor behind him and return to his own message.

"We've got to reduce special interest influence. We've got to bring this country together and we've got to tell the truth to the American people about how we're going to meet our challenges," says Obama.

However, campaign insiders are saying it's already too late to salvage a win in Indiana.

This past week, Rev. Wright compared U.S. soldiers to the Roman legions who killed Christ and expressed admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

"When Louis Farrakhan speaks it's like E.F. Hutton speaks. All black America listens," said Rev. Wright at the National Press Club.

Polls certainly show that after Wright spoke, Obama's numbers went down. Hillary Clinton has climbed past the Illinois senator and now leads by six points.

"We've got a couple of things going on here. Number one, Rev. Jeremiah Wright can't shut up," says Indianapolis radio talk show host and political commentator, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, who blames Rev. Wright for Obama's slide in Indiana.

In North Carolina, polls show the same trend. Obama's 15-point lead from just last week has now been cut in half.

ABC7's political analyst, Professor Bruce Cain, points out that lately Clinton has been doing better on election night than the polls predicted.

"I think what we're looking at is the possibility that Hillary will win Indiana and then quite possibly either come close to winning or possibly even narrowly eek out a victory in North Carolina," says Professor Cain.

Friday, the Indianapolis Star endorsed Clinton, and so has North Carolina's governor.

"She looks like she's having fun. She's energetic, her crowds are great," says Chris Lehane, a former advisor to the Clinton White House.

So why with everything seemingly going her way are superdelegates going Obama's way? In the past couple of months he's cut her superdelegate lead in half and this past week Obama picked up 14 superdelegates to Clinton's 11.

"And I think what's happening is a lot of them are seeing that unless Hillary Clinton wins and wins big, she is likely to be behind in pledged delegates when we get to June, and if she's behind in pledged delegates, I think it's very unlikely that most of the remaining superdelegates are going to want to overturn the outcome of the process," says Professor Cain.

Professor Cain believes superdelegates will have a hard time overriding the pledged delegate count.

As it stands now, Senator Obama still has what appears to be an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates. However, Senator Clinton has the momentum and is determined to take it as far as she can.

Obama's hopes of closing it out this Tuesday are fading.


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