The Note: Barack's Big Roll


Everything you need to know about the presidential race this Monday in four simple sentences:

Plenty of Democrats want Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be president (and, about a month after we thought it would happen, she has a new campaign manager to help find more people like that).

Plenty of Democrats (just possibly quite a few more) want Sen. Barack Obama to be president. (And in the precious visual department: Monday brings the unveiling of "a new figure of Sen. Barack Obama seated in a replica of the Oval Office with Bill and Hillary Clinton standing by" at Madame Tussauds wax museum in Washington, per the AP's daybook.)


Plenty of Republicans (including President Bush) want Sen. John McCain to be president.

Plenty of Republicans still DON'T want McCain to be president (and are showing about as much interest as the Democrats in a tidy end to the nominating process).

Victory in Maine on Sunday made it a clean sweep of a weekend for Obama, D-Ill. -- five-for-five, counting the Virgin Islands though not counting the Grammy, where his competition actually was Bill Clinton (and where he picked up as many delegates as Sen. Clinton did in Florida and Michigan combined).

So THIS is what momentum looks like: Now the candidate with the deeper pockets and the palpable edge in enthusiasm is on the brink of obtaining what could be delegate edge of significance -- making for dark days at Camp Clinton.

The campaign will try to turn the lights back on with a new chief at the helm, and while Patti Solis Doyle leaves on good terms, the timing tells the story. "The switch occurred at a time when Mrs. Clinton has found her campaign in a slump, coming off a split victory in a multistate round of nominating contests on Feb. 5 and losing badly in a string of state caucuses that relied on a high level of on-the-ground organizational skills at which the Obama campaign excelled," Katharine Q. Seelye writes in The New York Times.

"At the same time, she suffered a setback over money, and though in recent days the campaign has boasted of a $10 million month and many new donors, it never built the online donor base that Ms. Doyle had promised," Seelye writes. "Nor did it adapt to Mr. Obama's message of inspiration as his campaign grew in strength, prolonging the battle long past the point when Mrs. Clinton was expected by her strategists to have clinched the nomination."

Ask John Kerry how changing campaign managers works out in terms of perceptions and expectations about a candidacy. (But THEN ask John Kerry how it worked out in terms of actually winning the nomination.)

"The statement offered no real explanation for the shakeup, but none was needed," per the New York Daily News. "Clinton's campaign has sunk into a post-Super Tuesday funk, with little to crow about except a spike in fund-raising."

The move is "the first step in what could be a broader shakeup in her campaign, after Sen. Barack Obama won four weekend contests, turning up the pressure on the one-time Democratic front-runner," Amy Chozick and Monica Langley write in The Wall Street Journal.

"Some Clinton aides said that, as part of the changes, Mark Penn, Mrs. Clinton's chief strategist and pollster, could play a diminished role. But both Mr. Penn and Ms. Williams denied that."

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