COMMENTS: Hardworking White People

Barack Obama has not clinched the nomination yet so all three networks assigned a correspondent to Hillary Rodham Clinton's continued quest for votes through West Virginia, South Dakota and Oregon. NBC's Ron Allen quoted her campaign manager Terry McAuliffe's appearance on his network's Today: "We ought to go on and let the voters decide and then after June 3rd I think this will come to a conclusion." For his part Obama told NBC anchor Brian Williams that May 20th, when Oregon votes, would be "significant," a claim that was newsworthy enough for Jake Tapper to quote on ABC.

Rodham Clinton "set the bar on electability based on who wins West Virginia," ABC's Tapper observed, a convenient test for appealing to superdelegates as far as she is concerned since she is "favored handily." Both Tapper and CBS' Jim Axelrod quoted her claim to USA Today that Obama's support was weakening among "hardworking Americans, white Americans." ABC's Tapper speculated whether such a comment "risks widening this racial chasm" in the Democratic Party's coalition. CBS' Axelrod noted that Obama's aides claim no weakening but an improvement in Indiana among blue-collar whites. Mused Axelrod: "She has got to crush Obama in West Virginia and even that may very well not be enough."

ABC's George Stephanopoulos noted that Rodham Clinton's continuing campaign was not getting Obama's full attention: "They know they cannot completely ignore her because that would appear arrogant or disrespectful but they are going to make a hard pivot to the General Election and the race against John McCain." Top on Obama's agenda, instead of West Virginia, is lobbying for superdelegates and a 50-state voter registration drive.


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