Obama bounces back with win in Wyoming
But some Democrats fear his focus on smaller states may eventually backfire.
SENATOR Barack Obama stormed to victory in Wyoming yesterday, recovering from an uncharacteristic string of losses last week that gave his rival Hillary Clinton new life in the tightly contested Democratic presidential race.
Mr Obama came away with 61per cent of the vote in the sparsely populated state to Mrs Clinton’s 38per cent, giving him seven delegates and her five. Wyoming had one of the smallest hauls in the race for the presidential nomination.
With 1,578 delegates, Mr Obama is now roughly 100 ahead of Mrs Clinton, according to an Associated Press tally. To become the party’s nominee, a candidate needs 2,025 delegates.
The fight now moves to Mississippi, which holds its nominating contest tomorrow, and delegate-rich Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 22 as heightened acrimony threatens to cloud the last stretch of the race.
Mr Obama’s victory comes after a week of repeated knocks from the Clinton campaign and losses in Ohio and Texas.
His campaign suffered another blow on Friday when Harvard historian Samantha Power, one of his campaign’s foreign policy advisers, resigned after she described Mrs Clinton as “a monster” during an interview in London.
“We f****d up in Ohio,” Professor Power told the Scotsman newspaper. “In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio’s the only place they can win,” she was quoted as saying.
“She is a monster too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything,” she added. “You just look at her and think ‘Ergh’.”
Following the Wyoming win, Mr Obama’s strategist David Plouffe accused the Clinton camp of running “a scorched-earth campaign”.
Mrs Clinton’s decision to focus on Wyoming was a tactical departure for a campaign that has played down the importance of such caucus states, essentially ceding many of them to Mr Obama, while deriding the caucus process as undemocratic.
There are concerns in the Democratic Party, however, that Mr Obama’s strategy in focusing on these smaller states has a downside: many almost always vote Republican in the general election.
His losses in Texas and Ohio – coupled with his Feb5 defeats in California, New York and New Jersey – have cast doubts on his strategy.
Mrs Clinton’s supporters argue that winning over affluent, educated white voters in small Democratic enclaves, such as Salt Lake City and Idaho, and running up the score with African Americans in the Republican South exaggerate Mr Obama’s strengths in states that will not vote Democrat.
If Mr Obama becomes the Democratic nominee but cannot win support from working-class whites and Hispanics, they argue, then the Democrats will not retake the White House in November.
With the campaign moving this week to Mississippi, another Republican state where Mr Obama is expected to do well, these questions will grow only louder as the Clinton camp tries to minimise the importance of those states while raising the stakes for Pennsylvania a month later.
A Newsweek poll carried out just after Tuesday’s primaries found the Democratic rivals are in a statistical dead heat, with 45per cent favouring Mr Obama and 44per cent for Mrs Clinton.
The survey also showed that seven in 10 Democrats want the dream team of Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama.
But Mr Obama was clearly not interested. “You won’t see me as a vice-presidential candidate,” he said in a weekend radio interview.