Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama Rolls the Weekend, but Clinton Steals the Headlines

With Barack Obama sweeping the weekends primary and caucuses the Clinton Campaign team did the one thing they do best, stay in the headlines. Their latest attention grab was to replace Patti Solis Doyle as Campaign Manager. Barack Obama won Louisiana, Nebraska, The Virgin Islands, Maine, and Washington state. Yet today, Obama's hometown paper the Chicago Tribune, had only the Clinton campaign in the headlines with news of Doyle's removal.

While the headlines are not exactly what you want in the tightest delegate race in years, it keeps them in the news at or above Obama. In the past week the Clinton's have found a lot of different ways to keep the spotlight on them. To do this they have dug deep to keep as much or more of the focus on them instead of allowing Obama to own the news and headlines.

After Super Tuesday's draw, the press covered the virtual draw as a win for Hillary. At this point, I feel the campaign made a strategic decision aggressively keep the press busy on them with either good news or in more cases, bad news. The 10 contests after Super Tuesday all look to be solid for Obama and the campaign knew they had to stay in the public eye one way or the other. It has been a risk on their part because in order to get coverage they have had to show weakness.

Since Super Tuesday the Clintons have made headlines in the following ways.
  1. Hillary announcing that she pumped $5million of her own money into the campaign to keep it competitive. While this information would have come out anyway, it was odd to make this pronouncement after a strong showing the night before. It was a sign of things to come.
  2. The Clinton team was able to take MSNBC David Shuster's idiotic remark that the Clinton's were 'pimping out' daughter Chelsea on the campaign trail and turn it into a positive story for them. They look good slamming the press and it has given more credence to the claim the media is biased against the Clinton's.
  3. President Clinton gave an interview where, in his own way, he showed remorse for some of his campaign tactics . It wasn't a genuine apology to Obama, but it did generate stories and coverage that was more positive than negative. He had to show some rare humility and admit some mistakes. More importantly he cleared up some of the controversy before other big contests upcoming.
  4. Clinton fired Patti Doyle as campaign manager. They did this after 5 losses over the weekend and before what will almost certainly be 3 more losses on Tuesday. This shows two things to voters and observers. A campaign in disarray, which is bad, but also makes the victories of Obama seem like no surprise because the person running the campaign was let go.

One comment on Doyle's exit. The Clinton state by state strategy has been flawed for some time. The result is the 10 straight primaries Obama looks poised to win. Team Clinton had no plan in place for after Super Tuesday before the Texas/Ohio March 4th primaries. To put themselves in a spot where they are likely to lose 10 races in a row is unacceptable. The stat of the weekend is that Clinton did not get over 40% in any of the five contests in which they competed. The Clinton camp should be embarrased by the stunning weakness for a frontrunner.

The end result is they have had to stay relevant and newsworthy by playing a lot of their political cards. The question is, how many more newsworthy cards do they have left to play?

A clip of Bill's interview and MSNBC's apology to the Clinton's below:

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