By Benjamin van der Horst
By all accounts Barack Obama is on a roll. He slaughtered Hillary Clinton in South Carolina on Saturday, beating her by more votes than she received (55% to 27%). He won every income category and every county except two. It was a rout. And now Caroline Kennedy (JFK’s daughter) has endorsed him in a New York Times op-ed titled “A President Like My Father.” This powerful op-ed will certainly help Obama by allowing the Kennedy comparisons to have more merit. But even more important, today Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) endorsed Obama throwing the weight of the most powerful Democratic Senator behind Obama.
Despite a personal plea from President Clinton (as described in this Politico article), Sen. Kennedy decided to jump behind the Junior Senator from Illinois. This endorsement, coming from such a powerful anchor of the Democratic establishment will really help Obama not only by connecting him to a strong national network, but also improving his support among Hispanics (something he dearly needs). Kennedy’s support along with the walloping of HRC in SC yesterday shows Obama is for real and is a strong contender … but is it enough?
I’m not sure it is. Going into Super Tuesday, Clinton still has the advantage. She has more delegates, more of the Democratic establishment behind her, and strong leads in the polls. She is especially strong in New York (obviously) and California, the two states with the most delegates. Obama looks to do well in the south (Georgia and Alabama) as well as his home state of Illinois. He clearly has the momentum, but whether that translates to a win on Super Tuesday, is still unclear. Stay tuned … this one will be really interesting.