Isaac Chotiner

Ann Friedman has an excellent and much needed piece on identity politics, which she argues have been played for a very long time: But just because our front-running candidates are a woman and a black man, it does not mean that this is the first election to hinge on candidates' identities. All those other election years, when only white guys were vying for the nomination, well, those were "identity politics" races, too. Why weren't they framed that way?

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Greatest Spin Ever

Via The Page, this memo from the Clinton campaign is pretty hilarious: With an eleven state winning streak coming out of February, Senator Obama is riding a surge of momentum that has enabled him to pour unprecedented resources into Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. If he cannot win all of these states with all this effort, there’s a problem. I look forward to a Wednesday morning (victory) memo if Obama wins Texas, Ohio, and Vermont, but loses Rhode Island. --Isaac Chotiner 

In The New York Times today, Serbia's foreign minister has an op-ed on Kosovo's independence. Here's the key section: The case against recognition is based not only on the Security Council’s 1999 resolution reaffirming Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo, but also founded on the view that the international system has, as a result of this hostile act by the Kosovo Albanians, become more unstable, more insecure and more unpredictable. Here’s why. Recognizing the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia legitimizes the doctrine of imposing solutions to ethnic conflicts.

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Hmmmm

Readers can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that for the first time Clinton just apologized for her Iraq war vote. She has parsed this issue before, but tonight's answer seemed somehow different. If so, it is very interesting that she waited until now. ("Interesting" is a euphemism...) Update: Here is what she said: Well, obviously, I've said many times that, although my vote on the 2002 authorization regarding Iraq was a sincere vote, I would not have voted that way again.

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The Obama campaign wasted no time in sending out an email that claims Clinton's best moment of the night was plagiarized from John Edwards. Clinton: “You know, whatever happens, we're going to be fine.

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Debate Round-up

I think Marc Ambinder, the Fox News focus group, and all the television analysis is basically correct: Obama had a very good debate and kept his momentum despite Clinton's marvelous final answer. I would just add that there were a couple of moments where Obama's cockiness was extremely off-putting. His comment about "very good" speeches was tonally wrong, and he needs to stop saying "I was right" about matters of foreign policy (especially when the subject is murky questions like what to do about Pakistan).

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A Bad Debate Audience

Can't CNN tell the audience to stop clapping? Neither candidate can mention the current president or his administration without getting enthusiastic applause. Similarly, Obama just said he wants everyone in America to prosper, which drew sustained cheering.  --Isaac Chotiner

The Latest Numbers

The new ABC News/WaPo poll has Clinton ahead of Obama by 7 in Ohio and 1 in Texas. She had double-digit leads in both states last week. Meanwhile, Rasmussen has Clinton up three in Texas (last week he had the New York senator up 16). The most interesting internal from the WaPo survey is that Texas voters are one-and-a-half times more likely to say that health care, as opposed to the economy, is the most important issue facing the country (needless to say, this is not the case in Ohio). --Isaac Chotiner 

The Mccain Story

In a piece that reads as if a lot of stuff was edited out, these grafs are particularly important: Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her. “Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on the special interests and placing the nation’s interests before either personal or special interest,” Mr.

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Getting Rough

Clinton speaks, and says nothing about Obama's big Wisconsin win. Obama then starts speaking well before Clinton is done with her speech. Etiquette is out the window--and that Thursday night debate should be pretty interesting. --Isaac Chotiner 

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