Who's afraid of a little generosity?
This is Sen. Barack Obama's chance to be the bigger candidate -- and already he's showing a tendency to give.
Buffeted by criticism over his foreign-policy chops, with the RNC and Sen. John McCain mocking him for letting 871 days elapse between Iraq visits, Obama, D-Ill., says he may take that Iraq trip after all -- though not with McCain at his side.
A foreign trip could do him some good: "Iraq would obviously be at the top of the list of stops," Obama tells The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny.
Maybe the strategy works in the primary too: Now that it's clear that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., is highly unlikely to get what she wants out of Saturday's Democratic National Committee meeting . . . why not just give it to her?
Obama's approach on Florida/Michigan -- in essence, waiting out the clock -- has already worked: Clinton can receive everything she's looking for at this late stage and it still won't make a real difference in the delegate count.
(And does anyone outside of Camp Clinton think this popular vote argument matters in the least? If it did, might it not have started working six weeks ago, or a month ago, or even now, with the superdelegates?)
"Democratic sources tell ABC News that the Rules and Bylaws Committee is not going to give Clinton the full undiluted seating of Florida and Michigan's delegations," ABC's Teddy Davis reports. "Instead, the DNC panel is likely to impose a 50 percent sanction on the two states' delegates. Under this scenario, Clinton will see a net gain in delegates (somewhere between 15 and 28 net pledged delegates for the two states combined)."
Per ABC's Jennifer Parker, "many of the panel members reached by ABC News this week agreed Clinton isn't going to get what she wants." Said committee co-chair James Roosevelt Jr.: "They'd [the Clinton campaign] have to persuade the committee that there was no violation of the rules and I haven't seen anything to support that."
Obama is up 206 delegates over Clinton -- and the supers have been moving in only one direction over the past month,per ABC's delegate scorecard. Obama is plus-63 since May 6; Clinton is plus-9 in that same time period.
Yes, Tuesday could be the night Obama goes over the top -- and changing the magic number makes that trickier. But Obama looks like he'll get to whatever number he needs (how many supers does Obama have in his back pocket?).
He can afford to be a little generous in the endgame of the nomination fight -- and it's well worth the delegate cost if that means avoiding a fractious convention.
Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Pa., sees it: "I'm a realist, and I think most likely the superdelegates will give Sen. Obama the votes he needs," Rendell told Bloomberg TV Wednesday. With the DNC not likely to capitulate, "I think it's very unlikely that Sen. Clinton can prevail. I think that means we're not going to field our strongest candidate."