Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail after his Wednesday night appearance on Jay Leno’s show, insisting that Hillary Clinton is not the inevitable Democratic candidate.
The e-mail states: “I’m leaving the ‘Tonight Show’ studio and I wanted to share something. Jay Leno just asked me if it bothers me that some of the Washington pundits are declaring Hillary Clinton the winner of this election before a single vote has been cast.
“I’ll tell you what I told him: Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ a little too soon” – a reference to President Bush's 2003 speech in which he stood beneath a banner with those words and declared the end of major combat in Iraq.
The Clinton campaign indeed appears to believe that the nomination is in the bag. A recent New York Times column quoted unidentified Clinton supporters discussing Hillary’s vote for a resolution giving the president the authority to call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. She cast her vote, the supporters said, because she has already shifted from “primary mode,” when she must appeal to liberals, to “general election mode,” when she must find broader support.
Obama’s fundraising e-mail notes that his campaign started this week $2.1 million behind the Clinton campaign, a lead she “built in large part with contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.”
But Obama – who does not accept money from federal lobbyists or PACs – actually leads Clinton in overall fundraising this year. Clinton raised $27 million in the second quarter and $22 million in the third quarter, while Obama received $32.8 million in the second quarter and $20 million in the third quarter. Both candidates raised about $25 million in the first quarter.
Also, Obama is moving up in the polls in early caucus state Iowa, and has pulled ahead of John Edwards for second place.
Even more significantly, several polls show that Obama would fare better than Clinton in the general election. One poll by Zogby International found that Republican Rudy Giuliani would beat Clinton, 48.1 percent to 43.1 percent, while Obama would tally 48.1 percent to Giuliani’s 42.2 percent.
In a head-to-head race with Mitt Romney, Clinton won by about 7 percentage points, but Obama trounced Romney by 15 points.
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