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Obama’s Defensive Strategy In Pennsylvania

Sunday, March 23, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Boston Globe’s Sasha Issenberg focuses on the Obama campaign’s defensive strategy in the Keystone State. If Team Hillary’s popular vote total can be kept low enough, her last ditch effort to steal the nomination based on a bogus argument about popular vote totals will be upended:

Obama’s campaign has given every indication that he does not expect to win the most delegates when Pennsylvania votes on April 22, due to an overwhelmingly white, working-class electorate that has already given Hillary Clinton a sizable lead in some polls. But Obama’s team has put to work an intense registration program designed to achieve a broader strategic goal: limiting the scale of Clinton’s win to maintain Obama’s national edge in the number of total votes cast in the Democratic primaries.

That contest for total votes, while meaningless in any formal sense, is a key to Clinton’s strategy for wooing superdelegates by convincing them that she has the broadest strength among voters.

“In this state right now, his game is about bringing the popular-vote differential down,” said Ken Smukler, a Pennsylvania Democratic strategist unaligned with either candidate. “Since Super Tuesday, this game has never been just about pledged delegates.”

Clinton backers have been increasingly direct in suggesting that they intend to use the candidates’ popular-vote totals as indicators of national support when making a case to superdelegates at the primary calendar’s conclusion in June. By that point, Clinton will almost certainly have failed to equal Obama’s tally of elected delegates, supporters of both candidates acknowledge.

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