A Key Newspaper Endorsement For Obama

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Whatever you think of Obama's performance in last night's debate, his just-announced endorsement by The State, South Carolina's largest newspaper, could end up being just as influential if not more so in Saturday's primary. You can read the whole thing here.

This passage is particularly interesting:

On positions from Iraq to health care, the policy differences between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are minute. Much of the debate between them has involved making these molehills look mountainous or clashing over who-shifted-when.

The one most significant difference between them can be found in how they would approach the presidency - and how the nation might respond.

Hillary Clinton has been a policy wonk most of her life, a trait she has carried into the U.S. Senate. As her debate performances have shown, she has intelligence and a deep understanding of many issues. Her efforts in New York focused first on learning her adopted state’s issues in detail, and pursuing legislation that would not necessarily grab headlines.

But we also have a good idea what a Clinton presidency would look like. The restoration of the Clintons to the White House would trigger a new wave of all-out political warfare. That is not all Bill and Hillary’s fault - but it exists, whomever you blame, and cannot be ignored. Hillary Clinton doesn’t pretend that it won’t happen; she simply vows to persevere, in the hope that her side can win. Indeed, the Clintons’ joint career in public life seems oriented toward securing victory and personal vindication.

I said yesterday that Obama's best hope is to frame the race as a choice between the future and everything you didn't like about the 90s. This editorial goes a long way toward doing that for him in South Carolina...

Update: The Edwards campaign points out that The State endorsed Joe Lieberman in 2004, just two days before he lost South Carolina and dropped out of the race for good. Fair enough. But asking a newspaper endorsement to deliver a primary for Joe Lieberman seems like a pretty high bar...

The State clearly has some credibility among South Carolina voters. And if it has particular credibility in the eyes of the people who'd consider supporting Lieberman, then it could help Obama with the all-important white vote on Saturday.

--Noam Scheiber 

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