Without Declaring, They Beat Back Would-Be Rivals---Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), trading on star power, the capacity to raise tens of millions of dollars with relative ease and an ability to dominate media attention, are rewriting the script of the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, driving potential rivals to the sidelines and casting a huge shadow over all others who may run.
William Mayer, a political science professor at Northeastern University who has written extensively about the nominating process, said rivals of Clinton and Obama could have an especially difficult time finding an opening for their candidacies. "They are both very appealing to Democrats on a symbolic level," he said. "The Democrats would dearly love to elect the first woman or black president. Given that, it's going to be tough to run an insurgent campaign against these people."
Democratic strategist Anita Dunn cautioned against assumptions that the Democratic race is largely going to be a contest among Clinton, Obama and Edwards, who leads the polls in Iowa. "One of the reasons for elections is that you don't know at this point how things are going to play out," she said. "History teaches us that the front-runners usually win the nomination, but front-runners often stumble -- and that gives an opportunity to someone who is well positioned."
Monday, December 25, 2006
"Clinton, Obama Clearing The Field"
Dan Balz, writing in the WaPO: