James Forsyth

Will the Democratic race twist again tonight?

Will the Democratic race twist again tonight?
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Tonight, for the first time in a while, the pressure is all on Barack Obama. When I arrived here in Austin on Friday, the general feeling was that Obama was going to wrap things up by winning the popular vote here in Texas and running Clinton close in Ohio. Her last card, the 3am ad, didn’t seem to have worked and Obama had the energy and the momentum. But over the past few days things have changed.

Hillary has closed strongly. She has shown her human side with funny appearances on a bunch of comedy shows while Obama has had a bad few days with the Nafta flap and his poor handling of questions over the trial of his former friend Tony Rezko. On reflection, yesterday’s press conference might mark a turning point in Obama’s press coverage. To stalk out of a press conference after taking only eight questions on such a day when your campaign has been revealed to be disingenuous in its denials and when a man who raised money for you and from whom you brought property is on trial for corruption is to reject the whole concept of being scrutinized. (The morning that The New York Times ran its story about McCain’s ties to a female lobbyist, he took 36 questions.)

If Hillary wins Ohio and the popular vote in Texas, expect the first bout of negative coverage that Obama has had in a while. He would still be the strong favourite to win the nomination, but Hillary would have an opening to push her case and to raise questions about how strong a candidate Obama really is.    

Much more on the race over on Americano

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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