SNEAK PEEK: Dum Spiro Spero


1 day until the South Carolina primary (Democrats)

4 days until the Florida primary

Barack Obama enters Saturday's South Carolina Democratic primary as the odds-on-favorite.

But how much of a bounce will he get out of a win?

With Bill Clinton taking care of Jessica Yellin, Hillary Clinton was freed up over the past week to raise money and campaign in Feb. 5 states.

Obama, by contrast, has been bogged down in the Palmetto State, knowing after losses in New Hampshire and Nevada that South Carolina is a state he cannot afford to lose.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, the Clinton camp took additional steps on Friday to ingratiate the former first lady with Florida voters.

"Those votes should matter," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said of Florida voters on MSNBC. "We are going to ask our delegates to seat the delegation of Florida and Michigan and we think Sen. Obama and Sen. Edwards ought to do the same thing."

Although Florida's Democratic primary is a delegate-free contest, Clinton is laying the groundwork to get a free-media boost if she emerges first in the Florida balloting.

She will also soon have the backing of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, per Huffington Post's Sam Stein.

Nuts and bolts of South Carolina Democratic Primary:

Polls open: 7:00 am ET
Polls close: 7:00 pm ET

Forty-five delegates are up for grabs.

Democratic delegates are apportioned according to the vote in each congressional district as well as the statewide results. Candidates must receive at least 15 percent (either within a congressional district or statewide) of the vote to be eligible to be apportioned delegates.

African-Americans make up 29 percent of the state's population and make up 47 percent of the voters in the 2004 Democratic primary. Black voters went for John Edwards over John Kerry 37-34 percent. On Saturday, African-Americans are expected to make up at least half of the voters in the primary, and probably more.

South Carolina has an open primary: independents can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary but not both. The Republican primary was last Saturday so an independent who voted on Jan. 19 cannot vote again in Saturday's primary.

There are 2,445,755 registered voters (There is no same-day registration).

Absentee ballots are due on primary day and can be returned by fax.

Some things to look for:

- It's not do or die for John Edwards in South Carolina. Assuming that his Saturday finish is not Nevadesque, he is expected to stay in the race at least until Feb. 5 because his advisers believe that he could play kingmaker if his two rivals end up short on delegates.

- Unlike the GOP race where there were pockets of voters that candidates were aiming to win, there is no one area that is seen as straight up Obama/Clinton/Edwards territory.

- If Obama is performing very well in counties like Williamsburg, Florence, Marion and Clarendon, it could indicate a big win for him. These are counties with large African-American population

- Clinton's areas are Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia (Richland County). She can do well in these places among educated liberal women. Columbia is a college town (USC) and Clinton has a strong network of elected officials in Richland County.

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