The Note: Kitchen's Sink


For Obama, the evening was symptom of a shifting terrain -- and, perhaps, cause of more problems. "The mere fact that at least five damaging issues were thrown at him within 30 minutes was testament to how much the race has changed," Michael Goodwin writes in his New York Daily News column.

"My bet is that his ineffective answers on Wednesday night will mean more doubts among voters and more concern among Democratic superdelegates about whether Obama is electable in November."

The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan comes away disappointed in Obama: "This was his worst performance yet on national television," he writes. "He seemed crushed and unable to react. This is big-time politics and he's up against the Clinton wood-chipper. But there is no disguising the fact that he wilted, painfully."

Among the lingering questions for Obamaland to explain on Thursday: Are you you're your campaign never pushed the Bosnia story? And whose handwriting was it on that gun-control questionnaire?

Obama said "his handwriting does not appear on a 1996 questionnaire stating support for a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns," ABC's Teddy Davis and Talal Al-Khatib write. "The Democratic presidential frontrunner made this claim even though a copy of the original document suggests otherwise."

And both candidates took unwelcome trips to the Weather Underground. The New York Times' Larry Rohter and Michael Luo provide the background.

Obama and Clinton both have last-dash Pennsylvania tours on tap (and here's hoping they switch to light beer, in deference to their waistlines).

Another superdelegate signs on with Obama on Thursday (and the Obama campaign has been nothing if not savvy in trickling these out). Oklahoma's Reggie Whitten: "I believe this is a defining moment, not only for our Party, but also more importantly for our country."

Per an Obama aide, the campaign on Thursday will roll out Pennsylvanians who have switched their allegiance from Clinton to Obama, citing the tone of her campaign.

With Clinton's purported 1995 comments about working-class Southerners -- "Screw 'em" -- making the rounds anew, a third witness comes forward. "I was there. I hope people have heard of me," Boston College professor Alan Wolfe writes on The New Republic blog.

And this: "A lot of people compare Barack Obama to Bobby Kennedy. To me, he most resembles Bill Clinton, at least the Bill Clinton I knew then."

Obama made an abnormal amount of news for a debate day -- three new superdelegates (including North Carolina reps. Mel Watt and David Price), one (very hefty) tax return, and one endorsement by the rock star of rock stars.

The Boss takes sides (and does it put Obama on the glory road to the promised land?): Obama "speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that's interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit," Bruce Springsteen wrote in a letter to fans on his Website, per ABC's Sunlen Miller and Nitya Venkataraman.

The Philadelphia Daily News helps Obama tell a different story on Thursday. The endorsement editorial: "The long slog through 44 primaries and caucuses has confirmed for us that Sen. Barack Obama's vision of change -- and the way he plans to pursue it -- is what we need right now. Badly."

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