I just finished listening to the podcast of the November 10 edition of NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. She was talking to Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker Magazine, who has been covering the Obama campaign for the last 2 years. Terry asked Ryan what the Obama campaign insiders now say about the effect on their campaign of the long and tough primary battle with Hillary Clinton. Lizza said that everyone in the campaign was unanimous about the overwhelmingly beneficial effect of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy on their eventual victory. Having potentially damaging issues, such as Rev. Wright, brought up during the primary season made them easier to deal with than if they had been brought up for the first time just before the general election. Also the Obama Campaign’s internal polling showed that, thanks to the lengthy primary campaign, by the time of the nominating conventions the public had a much clearer picture of who Obama was than they did of McCain, who had an easier and shorter path to the nomination.
Back in February many blogs, including this one, were worried that Hillary Clinton, by continuing her doomed campaign, ran the risk of lessening Barack Obama’s chances of winning in November. It now appears that we were wrong about that. Mea culpa.
Of course we were not the only ones that had worries at that time that turned out to be unfounded. Remember that Hillary Clinton and her supporters were claiming the McCain and the Republicans would be tougher and have more damaging and more difficult-to-deal-with attacks against Obama than he was currently facing from her in the primaries. That turned out not to be true. McCain refused to allow his campaign to even mention Rev. Wright, because he did not want to play the race card.