The Note: 'Still Standing'


"Hillary Clinton's camp complained Wednesday that Barack Obama was trying to buy the Pennsylvania Democratic primary with an extensive television advertising campaign, saying his rising popularity with the state's voters was partly the result of misleading ads," Christi Parsons and Mark Silva write in the Chicago Tribune.

Said Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson: "He is doing everything he can to win in Pennsylvania. . . . And if he doesn't win, it will be a significant defeat for him."

"Hillary Clinton knows she can only win the Democratic presidential nomination by finding a way to fight on through the party's August convention in Denver," Mark Halperin of Time and ABC News writes. "For now, she is battling one day at a time, trying to have enough success at the ballot box and in the media wars to keep her supporters on board and limit calls for her to quit."

But now that the White House and congressional leaders are in a full-on trade war, look out for the collateral damage.

With House leaders' move to shelve the agreement (a vote is set for Thursday), "both sides [are] using trade as a surrogate for an election-year battle over jobs, national security and the sinking economy," The New York Times' Steven R. Weisman reports. "In the background was a rich brew of presidential politics."

Among the joys of having three sitting senators running for president is that actions on the Hill matter a great deal to the race for the White House: "Democrats signaled their determination to escalate their power struggle in Mr. Bush's final months in office," Greg Hitt and John D. McKinnon write in The Wall Street Journal.

"Democrats are eager to cast the White House and congressional Republicans as out of touch on the economy. White House officials in turn note that Democrats have accomplished little so far that would help on the specific problem areas, notably the housing sector."

The danger here for Clinton is not just about the Colombia trade deal that's now the object of such acrimony between the executive and legislative branches.

The real problem in the current dust-up over trade is that -- by highlighting former President Bill Clinton's support for the Colombia deal -- it opens up a messy bag of potential conflicts of interest.

Know that Clinton wanted to talk about the Iraq war Wednesday in Pennsylvania: "Economic issues intruded, however, with Clinton denying in a news conference that there was conflict in her campaign because she opposes expanded trade with Colombia, in contrast to her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and her former chief strategist," Thomas Fitzgerald writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The union battle is raging in Pennsylvania. "As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama vie for voters in Pennsylvania's presidential primary, another rivalry is playing out between two of the state's largest unions," Bloomberg's Kim Chipman writes. Clinton's AFSCME and Obama's SEIU are in a showdown "more bitter than the contest between Clinton and Obama."

Don't look now -- but could Obama be building a solid, stable lead? (Who wants to bet this changes by weekend?) Per the Gallup release, "For the third consecutive day, Barack Obama holds a significant advantage over Hillary Clinton in national Democratic preferences for the Democratic presidential nomination, now 51% to 41%."

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