He Hit Us and It Felt Like a Kiss

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Pop quiz: How many points has Obama lost in the polls since the "bitter" story broke?

Take a minute.

That's right: He hasn't lost any support whatsoever. Clinton has lost it. The "bitter" story broke on April 11, and was turned into an ad by the Clinton campaign on April 13. Since then Obama has moved from a 7-8 point deficit to a 5-6 point deficit in the polls.

That's a margin-of-error change, of course, and the trend lines show that Obama and Clinton have both been basically flat for a few days. But flatness is surely bad for Clinton. There's a track record for voter-insulting gaffes wrecking a canddiate at the 11th hour. Gary Hart blew his last chance at the 1984 nomination when he made a joke about New Jersey and toxic waste right before the state's primary. Mike Dukakis was on track to win South Dakota until Dick Gephardt made fun of him for telling farmers to raise Belgian endives. And of course, Obama suffered a last-minute collapse in Ohio when Austan Goolsbee told Canadian officials that Obama's anti-trade rhetoric was campaign trail boilerplate.

So if this didn't hurt him… well, why? My theory is that Obama quickly won the spin war and convinced voters he was a well-meaning truth-teller. The "bitter" comment, instead of the much more insulting "cling" comment, became the story. The whole quote was packaged as St. Barack finally, finally telling PA Democrats (most of whom will be voting in Philadelphia and the more suburban southeast) the truth about Republican tactics. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton raced into the spotlight to accuse him of "elitism" and to drink shots with the hoi polloi. One of the candidates looked honest, one looked opportunistic. It was the flip-side of the Goolsbee gaffe.

It's much less clear how the debate is playing out, even though Obama quickly won that spin war—instead of bragging about a victory, Clinton is defensively arguing that, no, the debate wasn't completely unfair. Some polls show Clinton slightly up, some show her slightly down.

NEXT: 'That's a Very Serious Marker'

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  1. The bottom line is: Weeks more fun for me!

    I knew there was some reason I was not feeling so bitter any more. Sen. Obama removed my bitterness woith a flourish and a wave.

  2. dont tell Neil.

  3. This just proves my Hilary Clinton theory of politics:

    The more she opens her mouth, the less people like her.

  4. Does measuring him against Clinton mean much anymore? She’s really done, so few voters are likely to bother jumping to her ship unless Obama does something really awful. Where this may or may not matter is in the general.

  5. Why does Obama want to destroy civilization?

  6. Yes, there’s that, too. She looks worse than Obama, even if you take his gaffes to date entirely too seriously.

  7. I’ve been thinking. If McCain would start talking like Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, I might vote for him. Just for laughs.

  8. Dammit, I just don’t know who to support!

    The Greasy-Headed Bushnecks who Hate Science?

    Or the Snobby Obama Elitists who read Norm Chomsky whilst lolling about at Starbucks all day?

  9. Ah, Norm Chomsky is so much more fun at a party than his killjoy brother, Noam.

  10. I am waiting to welcome our yet-to-be-selected Cosmotarian Overlord.

  11. shrike –
    those B. Abdul Osama terror-symp elitists will still lolling,
    but us True American Heartland Patriots will be LOL-ing come November.

  12. Norm is the one with a lampshade on his head.

  13. Rimfax,

    Can we just get Norm Crosby instead? That Borscht Belt humor just can’t be beat.

  14. “but us True American Heartland Patriots will be LOL-ing come November.”

    Did you channel TallDave in a seance today?

    I have only posted here for a few weeks but I am picking up on the nomenclature of a few amongst you…..

  15. There’re lotsa better things to attack Obama on, like his hideous voting record on economic matters and his proposals on the same.

    Of course Clinton also has a hideous voting record on economic matters and proposals to match. And unlike Obama, she doesn’t have an excellent record on the Iraq war.

  16. He should not worry much about losing Ohio right now. Maybe when they become a State, but not right now.

  17. Norm Chomsky:

    NORM!

    Sam: Hey, what’s happening, Norm?
    Norm: Well, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and I’m wearing Milk-Bone underwear.

  18. Dave,
    Can you tell me what in the hell this sentence means?

    “The “bitter” comment, instead of the much more insulting “cling” comment, because the story.”

    I suppose “because” could be read as “became” but I don’t want to misinterpret your words.

  19. Kwix – I meant “became.” Fixed.

  20. Why does Hillary hate the Democratic Party?

  21. So if this didn’t hurt him… well, why?

    Because all the Pennsylvanians he insulted were already planning to vote for Clinton.

    If it ends up hurting him, it’ll be in the fall by losing independents/moderate Dems he might have gotten.

  22. I’m bitter that one of these 3 will likely ascend to the presidency.

    In politics, often the reprehensible rise to the top.

  23. Why does Hillary hate the Democratic Party?

    Because they went through this silly primary/convention nonsense instead of just crowning her after she already picked out her swearing-in bible 2 years ago.

  24. Hillary Clinton has my pole way down.

  25. If Mrs. Clinton had better pole dancers on her staff the charts would not look so bad.

  26. Whatever, the undecidedes are going to break for Clinton, just watch!

    They just dont want to look racist.

    The undecidides will give her a 12-15 point victory, and there will be riots in Denver!!

    “If Mrs. Clinton had better pole dancers on her staff the charts would not look so bad.”

    LOL!! Wins the thread!

  27. Anyway in the national polls McCain is stilled tied and ahead in PA and Obama went from +10 in teh national polls to +7.

    This isnt over yet especially with the Ayers story. Will PA voters vote for someone who associates with 1960s, far-leftist comsymp terrorist radicals? I say no!

  28. Ah, Norm Chomsky is so much more fun at a party than his killjoy brother, Noam.

    Stormin’ Norman Chomsky? A laugh a minute. Everbody loves the guy.

  29. States B. Hussein Obama cant win in November:

    Michigan
    Ohio
    Pennsylvania
    New Hampshire
    Florida

  30. “Whatever, the undecidedes are going to break for Clinton, just watch”

    Don’t think so. She doesn’t have a shot a beating McCain, which Obama does.

  31. Why does Hillary hate the Democratic Party?
    She doesn’t. She’s just an egocentric bitch who thinks she’s entitled to the presidency.

  32. Weirdly enough, Neil seems to have more in common with Hillary than either of the other candidates in his utter tone deafness to the trends in the culture. They both remind me of people who listened to Lawrence Welk in the 70s and insisted that eveyone else was out of step.

  33. ERROR ERROR! CAROUSEL REFERENCE!

  34. Neil,

    Why do you think that Obama can’t win those states?

    There’re lotsa good good reasons not to vote for Obams, like if you dig the economic liberty that we call capitalism, but anyone who holds his middle name against him is an idiot and maybe bigot.


  35. Why do you think that Obama can’t win those states?”

    Because those states wont elect to most liberal Senator, and the most far, far-left liberal Democrat candidate nominated since McGovern. And independents love McCain.

    Im not voting against him because of his middle name. Whats wrong with his middle name? It is what it is, theres nothing wrong with using it.

    His name is Barack Hussein Obama. Its not like I made it up.

  36. The economy goes up, the economy goes down.

    Fact remains Obama wants to ban handguns, has ties to 60s radicals, thinks heartland voters are stupid, doesnt say the pledge of alleiagence, wants to raise your taxes, and is the most liberal far-left Senator in the country.

    Look at this:

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/132566

    Like John Kerry LOL!

  37. Neil,

    I think that McCain’s pro-Iraq war position will hamper him vs Obama in all those states with the exception of Florida, and it will hamper him severely in Michigan and New Hampshire

  38. Neil, say comsymp again, it’s great.

  39. So calling gun owners and god lovers bitter does not hurt you among Democrat voters…

    Not really surprised.

    In the general it will kill him.

  40. Hey Muffy Wasp,

    Did you, or do you now, attend a prep school? I’m just guessing…:)

  41. “Whats wrong with his middle name? It is what it is, theres nothing wrong with using it.”

    God, you are such an unbelievable fucking tool, Neil.

    LOL, you witless hack. L. O. L.

  42. Yeah, I’m a tool. Whatever, your the one believing America will elect a far, far-left liberal Democrat who will take your guns, raise your taxes, surrender to terrorists, then jet off to San Francisco and insult heartland Americans behind closed doors while sipping French chardonnay.

    Hes a Mike Dukakis-style elitist.

  43. That abortion chick at Yale wishes she was performance art like “Neil”. Comsymp, dudes!

  44. I’m an elitist. In my ideal world, people would serve my every whim and acknowledge my greatness in song and in many, many hours of labor and production. I’d awake each day, throw open the window to my palace, look upon the collected masses, and say, “Bonjour, scum.”

  45. Neil:

    …surrender to terrorists…

    You’re right on the other items but raising the terrorist bugaboo is BS.

  46. Pro Libertate,

    I’d like to handle just the acknowledging your greatness in song bit. Other folks can do the many many hours of labor and production part…If that would be alright with you, sir.

  47. Yeah, I’m a tool. Whatever, your the one believing America will elect a far, far-left liberal Democrat who will take your guns, raise your taxes, surrender to terrorists, then jet off to San Francisco and insult heartland Americans behind closed doors while sipping French chardonnay.

    I own a handgun and like good white Burgundy. I’m all for surrendering to the terrorists, if we ever find any to surrender to, but I think San Francisco is overpriced, full of too many homeless, and overdue for the next big one.

    Too bad your fantasy stereotypes don’t vote.

  48. From the article:
    “But flatness is surely bad for Clinton.”

    Perhaps she should go visit a plastic surgeon. She might regain some bounce.

  49. Rick Barton,

    Sure, I’m magnanimous. Something symphonic and Wagnerian in scope would be nice. Perhaps an opera?

  50. Neil:
    SEND OLE UNKY Urkobold? AN EMAIL, WOULDJA?

  51. No one could have predicted that Barack Obama could shed right-wing frames.

    No one.

    Absolutely no one.

  52. Uh oh.

    My smug detector went off.

    Better open a window and stop commenting.

    Hi, Kneel.

  53. Hi, Joe.

    The undecideds will break hard for Hillary. She will win in a blowout.

    12-16 points at least. Chris Matthews said so. He cant connect to white working class voters, only to upper crust liberal elites.

    Pennsylvanians just dont want to look like biggets.

    Urkobold what kind of email what do you want me to talk about?

  54. Hey liberal Democrat Joe, what do you think of this article?

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/132566

    Obama=Dukakis?? LOL!

  55. Neil,

    I’ll make sure I treat your prediction with all of the respect that your track record deserves.

    Funny you should bring up Newsweek: they’ve got Obama up 19 points over Clinton in a poll released today.

    But you just keep repeating the elite media’s framing of the race, and I’ll just keep watching the actual data, and we’ll just see how that goes.

  56. Whatever, your the one believing America will elect a far, far-left liberal Democrat who will take your guns, raise your taxes, surrender to terrorists, then jet off to San Francisco and insult heartland Americans behind closed doors while sipping French chardonnay.

    I’m pretty sure that, while in San Francisco, Obama would make a point of pandering to California voters by drinking a Chardonnay from that state.

    Or more likely a Merlot — a dark-colored wine without all that bitterness.

  57. Joe do you think those white, working class, Budweiser-drinking bowlers between Philly and Pittsburgh are going to break for the far left Democrat Obama?

    Tell me!

  58. “Chris Matthews said so.”

    Yeah, who the hell do you think you are to argue with Chris Matthews (either the real one or the one in Neil’s head)?

    “Pennsylvanians just dont want to look like biggets.”

    “biggets”? Is that some kind of muppet? Or is it related to a mullet? Pennsylvanians don’t like muppets with mullets?

  59. No one could have predicted that Barack Obama could shed right-wing frames.

    The Clinton war room is right wing?

  60. I’m afraid Hillary will finally have to resort to the “sex option”. Expect low-cut blouses and mini-skirts from here on in. Husky, smokey calls at 3 a.m. “Do you know where I am? It ain’t the White House. Come get me.” She might just yet reel in the swing vote.

  61. I just got a stiffy thinking about real American working class Budweiser-drinking bowlers in the heartland LOL. Especially the white ones LOL!!

  62. Im not a racist I bileive in a color-blind society.

    In fact I think McCain might get 15 or even 20% of the black vote since blacks dont want to be represented by a far, far left liberal gun-grabbing godless tax-raisier like Obama.

  63. I for one welcome my Pro Libertate overlords.

    But I’m a little bitter over it…

  64. The Clinton war room is right wing?

    No, the Clinton war room is incompetent and bereft of ideas. That’s why they borrow frames from Sean Hannity and National Review.

    So sorry they don’t work.

  65. “Budweiser-drinking bowlers between Philly and Pittsburgh”

    Bud? That fancy pants imported stuff? No, around here it’s Rolling Rock or Yuengling.

  66. Neil | April 16, 2008, 2:05pm | #

    Well Joe, Joe Scarborough said Thursday or Friday wed see full impact. Stories that break over weekends take a while to take hold.

    joe | April 16, 2008, 2:13pm | #

    You’re made your prediction. Here’s mine.

    Obama is now counter-punching on this. On Friday, April 19, he will be higher in the RCP average both in Pennsylvania vs. Clinton, nationwide vs. Clinton, nationwide vs. McCain, and in Pennsylvania vs. McCain, than he was on Friday, April 12, when the story broke.

    PA Dem Primary, April 12: Clinton +6.8
    PA Dem Primary, April 19: Clinton +5.6

    National Dem Primary, April 12: Obama +6-7 (changed over the day)
    National Dem Primary, April 19: Obama + 8.9

    PA General Election, April 12: Obama +2.2
    PA General Election, April 19: Obama +2.2

    National General Election, April 12: Obama +0.2
    National General Election, April 19: Obama +0.7

    LOL joe, you’re deluded joe, this is going to kill him joe.

    LOL.

    Lawlz.

    Lol.

    Squeal like a pig, boy.

  67. oops, RR got bought out by Anheuser-Busch in 2006.

  68. Rolling Rock is now made in Newark, New Jersey. (Newark City!? Get a rope.)

  69. What’s really bizzaro about Hillary’s shameful playing of the race card against Obama is that while she’s trying to put the idea into the minds of white Democrats that Obama might well be an anti- white racist, the vast majority of elected Democratic politicians vote for anti-white discrimination in the form of affirmative action/quota systems.

  70. I like the way you flip me over when you play me, Rick.

  71. Pro Libertate:

    Sure, I’m magnanimous. Something symphonic and Wagnerian in scope would be nice. Perhaps an opera?

    Well sir, symphonic classical music is lovely and I dig it too. And although I’m not into opera, I’m sure that your appreciation of it is attributable to your highly refined and sophisticated taste. However, I was thinking more along the lines of New Wave and old school punk.

    Perhaps Bananarama’s “Really Saying Something” could be re-worked as a tribute to your splendid pronouncements here of H&R.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXE70pe_XF8

    And the The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” could be reworked as a description of the effect that you have on your adoring masses.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7FdJajqxmU&feature=related

  72. Love the Crystals reference…

  73. The race card:

    I like the way you flip me over when you play me, Rick.

    Well, while I would never personally play you…but are you a cute female? Just asking…

  74. Eww, Rick just came on to joe! 🙂

  75. Oops-I just clicked the “The race card” and it is joe! Well I did ask if “The race card” was a cute female…He tricked me-Damn liberal! Just kidding. I’m sure joe will forgive me. We go way back. I think he’s been here even longer than me. We’re on the same side on the war and some civil liberties issues.

    I haven’t been this embarrassed since I complimented a really skinny gal at a club on her thinness, which I really find attractive, and it turned out that she was a cancer victim. That actually happened to me twice!

  76. So if this didn’t hurt him… well, why? My theory is that Obama quickly won the spin war and convinced voters he was a well-meaning truth-teller.

    My theory is we live in a bizarro world when it comes to race where the normal rules, especially for blacks, don’t apply.

    Don’t believe me?

    But what made the duo’s achievement not only remarkable but groundbreaking was that they had turned debate traditions upside down deciding not to argue their chosen topic — whether the United States “should constructively engage with a Middle East country.” Instead, in a direct challenge to the judges and the system under which they operate, the pair made their central premise the notion that, as Cooper said, “the problems of exclusion in the debate community need to be addressed first.”

    By that, Cooper said, he meant the “racism, sexism and homophobia” that pervade the kind of tournament at which they were speaking. “We have a responsibility to talk about these things,” …In addition, Cooper and Love used various forms of expression, including hip-hop, clips of songs and “spoken word,” to accentuate their points, a far cry from the more straightforward, evidence-laden presentations of some of their competitors.

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/education/college/bal-md.ci.debate26mar26,0,2143399.story

  77. Sorry, Rick.

    I feel like the guy in the gorilla suit in Trading Places.

    I haven’t been this embarrassed since I complimented a really skinny gal at a club on her thinness, which I really find attractive, and it turned out that she was a cancer victim. That actually happened to me twice!

    You’re gonna love this. A coworker of mine in college approaches my boss, this buddy of mine, and asks if she can go home. She’s been there all night and she’s exhausted. He likes her, so he says ok. “Yeah, you are looking a little glassy-eyed.”

    Pause.

    “Actually, I do have a glass eye.”

  78. Rick Barton,

    I was thinking something more along the lines of an opera based on “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here”, with lots of Sturm und Drang.

  79. I feel like the guy in the gorilla suit in Trading Places.

    That cracks me up, joe. But it wasn’t quite that bad.

    “Actually, I do have a glass eye.”

    LOL! (Is that still cool to say around here? I really did laugh out-loud)

  80. Pro Libertate,

    You lost me-and just when I was thinking that I’m kinda high culture…Oh well, I’ll start googling.

    But if you really didn’t dig Bananarama and the Ramones, I’m afraid that I won’t work out to be your music man.

  81. Does is pain you that one of the girls from Bananarama writes a feminist blog, Rick?

  82. J sub D-

    Michigan’s latest [unemployment rate] 7.2 percent rate was higher than the state’s March 2007 rate of 7.0 percent. The national unemployment rate for last month was 5.1 percent.

    You don’t read much, do you?

    While I would agree that either Dem will likely win Michigan in November (just like 9 of the last 10 Presidential elections…)- why would you consider those particular “talking points” effective?

    Which party does Governor Granholm belong to?

    Has Michigan’s economy “improved” at all since 2003, when she took office?

    How about Michigan’s Senators? Any blame for them?

    Don’t forget Detroit! An excellent example of “Gov’t by Democrat”… But, I realize that they only “cling” to the Democrats due to their ‘bitterness’…

  83. LOL Anon your right Michigan should elect Republicans to their state and local offices THEN their ecnomy would improve! Liberal Democrat Granholm and her liberal Democrat minions are the cause of the one-state recesion.

  84. Too bad you haven’t cited the latest Gallup poll that shows Clinton overtaking Obama. And most of these polls are only surveying Democrats. To think that this and other flubs and comments by Obama will not cost him with independents is ludicrous. No wonder Obama doesn’t want to debate Clinton again. The guy sticks his foot in his mouth every time he works without a script. Every time he appears in public and opens his mouth, he loses votes. This douchebag has about as much chance in winning in November as I do.

  85. Ah, Norm Chomsky is so much more fun at a party than his killjoy brother, Noam.

    Genius. Pure genius.

    And I’m not talking about Noam.

  86. joe:

    Does is pain you that one of the girls from Bananarama writes a feminist blog, Rick?

    I didn’t know. But certainly not. Which one? I’ll guess, Siobhan. I might agree or disagree with the content. Maybe I could learn from it.

    Thanks for the excuse to link to another tune by em. Here’s a live version of “Robert De Niro’s Waiting”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5RrQ_5DcMA&feature=related

    Vid version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRQ1zv9Finw

    And were they cute (hot) or what?

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