Bill’s Shark-Jumping Gambit

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January 27, 2008 4:46 p.m.

Though the sourcing is pretty vague, Shailagh Murray in the Post’s Trail blog suggests that Bill Clinton’s comparison of Jesse Jackson to Obama may have finally tipped the balance toward Ted Kennedy’s endorsing Obama.

Not sure what I think of that. It’s certainly possible this was coordinated in some way with Caroline Kennedy’s endorsement in the Times.

Asked about Clinton’s statement this morning on ABC, Obama basically passed on an opportunity to criticize Bill’s words or his meaning. He took a subtle jab at Clinton but basically didn’t want to engage.

I’ll give Obama credit for wanting to remain above this ugly fray. But I think his response (video of which you can see here) reflected a correct perception that Bill damaged himself badly with this comment and to some degree also his wife’s candidacy. And there’s simply nothing to be gained by getting into it with him. Bill’s doing plenty on his own to hurt himself.

Late Update: The Politico has a more detailed story on Kennedy’s move to Obama — doesn’t mention the Jesse Jackson remarks but does include an alleged last-minute phone call from Bill trying to talk him out of it.

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