The question of how Obama chooses to define and approach race looms large as he moves closer to formally launching his campaign next month. Although he rides a wave of enthusiasm among Democrats who like his vision of a different kind of politics and see him as an alternative to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), it is not clear that his multiracial message can excite black voters hungry for affirmation of their top concerns. . . .
Complicating matters is that Obama appears certain to encounter fierce competition for the black vote from the other leading Democratic presidential contenders. Black Democrats prefer Clinton 3 to 1 over Obama, and four out of five of black Democrats view her favorably, much higher than the 54 percent who have a favorable view of Obama, according to combined findings from two Washington Post-ABC polls taken in December and January. Clinton also enjoys close ties to top black elected officials, and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, remains extremely popular among African Americans.
Indeed. Plus, Howard Kurtz on Kerry’s long goodbye:
Kerry began to talk. And talk.
He talked about Mesopotamia in the year 685, the tribal warfare, how people were beheaded. He trod a long, winding path to today’s Iraq, then detoured to talk about Syria.
As he continued to speechify, CNN cut away, then MSNBC.
Kerry kept talking. He turned to Vietnam, then back to Iraq. MSNBC checked in again, then CNN. Would he now get to the point?
The on-screen headlines said that Kerry would announce his withdrawal, but he did not.
Finally, half an hour later, the Massachusetts senator, his voice breaking, disclosed that he would, in fact, not be a candidate for president in the next election.
A flashback to the often droning, ponderous Kerry of 2004 was impossible to avoid.
I still don’t understand why people thought he was the guy to nominate. And — as I noted back then — it’s a measure of Bush’s own weakness as a candidate that he beat Kerry by such a comparatively narrow margin.