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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pennsylvania a battleground ... or not

Posted By on Wed, Mar 12, 2008 at 10:13 AM

Much as I hate to burst anyone's bubble, including my own, I'm starting to wonder if the world cares about Pennsylvania's presidential primary contest after all.

Earlier today, Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe did a conference call with reporters. As you might expect, part of it was a victory lap after Obama's big win in Mississippi yesterday. By most reckonings this victory, along with some other smaller-state wins, essentially wipes out Hillary Clinton's much-touted gains in Ohio and Texas on Mar. 4. 

But although Pennsylvania is the only game in town for the next several weeks, our state barely came up during the nearly half-hour long phone conversation. As he did last week, Plouffe downplayed expectations for the race. Clinton was a "prohibitive favorite" in Pennsylvania, he said, and "should win by a healthy margin." While promising to campaign hard -- "we don't cherrypick states," he said, in one of several swipes at Clinton tactics -- Plouffe noted a recent KDKA poll that showed Clinton up by 19 points.

(Click here to listen to Plouffe talking about the prospects for Obama in Pennsylvania.)

It seems pretty clear that Obama will be playing defense in this race -- trying to avoid a blowout by the Clinton campaign, and writing off the significance of any other result.

What's worse -- if you were hoping to be a person-on-the-street interviewee, sharing your homespun wisdom with a national TV audience -- is that reporters don't seem very interested in Pennsylvania either. The press call was dominated by questions over how to seat delegates in Florida and Michigan, which held states their primaries earlier this year ... so much earlier, in fact, that the Democratic Party has threatened not to include their delegates at the national convention. 

The party's move was supposed to punish those states by depriving them of the influence they tried to usurp. But somehow, Florida and Michigan are dominating the political discussion anyway. 

Doesn't seem fair, does it?  

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