How’s It Play?

April 2, 2008 2:32 p.m.

Yesterday Harold Ickes told TPM’s Greg Sargent that Jeremiah Wright and his relationship with Barack Obama were coming up as a key topic in his discussions with superdelegates, trying to woo them over to Hillary Clinton. It was left unclear in the interview just who was bringing Wright up. But whoever is bringing it up, it’s hardly a surprise that it would be a topic of discussion. If there’s one vulnerability of Obama’s it seems very likely Republicans would hit on in a general election, that’s it.

In fact, since I think the Wright thing is a real liability for Obama (for many reasons, not least of which is the way it simply reinforces the race issue), I would expect that the pols to the Ickes argument would be folks from red and purple states. And yet my impression is that that’s not what’s happening. If anything, just the opposite.

Since January Obama has been able to score endorsements that really don’t square with the idea that he’s a loser in the general or someone who’d hurt Dems down ticket. The names I think of are Tim Johnson, Ben Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Bob Casey, Lee Hamilton, etc. (To be sure, Pennsylvania has been consistently Democratic over the last few cycles, if only by small margins. But I put Casey in since a lot of his base is in the redder parts of the state.)

Today you’ve got Wyoming Gov. Freudenthal (D) endorsing Obama. Now, Wyoming’s not going to be in the Democratic column, to put it mildly. So in itself Freudenthal’s endorsement isn’t an above-the-fold news story. But if it’s not that significant nationally, I’m sure Freudenthal gave it a good deal of thought for how it would affect him and the Democratic party in his state.

So why is it the Democrats from the reddest states and many from purple states seem to go for Obama over Hillary Clinton? If nothing else it seems to me that these people are voting with their feet on Ickes argument and they’re not convinced.

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