The Note: Greek Drama

The Clintons, you'll recall, are very good lawyers: "The possibility provides her with a strategic advantage in negotiations with the Obama campaign about her role at the convention and fund-raising to relieve her debt," Sarah Wheaton writes in The New York Times.

Even if it's just a bargaining chip -- does that mean it has to be on the table?

Politico's Ben Smith: "A veteran of Democratic Convention mechanics, Matt Seyfang, explained that Clinton holds some real procedural power, and could probably -- if she chooses -- force a symbolic vote at which her supporters could express their public dissent with the Democratic Party's decision." http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0808/Clinton_Obama_reiterate_unity.html

Who needs this? "I feel there's hope now that Hillary may get the nomination," one organizer of the marches in Denver tells Newsday's Janie Lorber.

This is all drama Obama can afford to lose. Fifty never looked so far away: New CBS numbers have the race at Obama 45, McCain 39.

It's Obama 46, McCain 41 in the new Time poll. "On specific issues, Obama is treading water or sinking a bit," Massimo Calabresi writes.

Cue the Democratic angst: "Such attacks [by Sen. John McCain] have raised worries among Democratic strategists -- haunted by John F. Kerry's 2004 run and Al Gore's razor-thin loss in 2000 -- that Obama has not responded in kind with a parallel assault on McCain's character," Jonathan Weisman and Perry Bacon Jr. write in The Washington Post.

"Interviews with nearly a dozen Democratic strategists found those concerns to be widespread, although few wished to be quoted by name while Obama's campaign is demanding unity." (Does anyone remember Kerry inspiring the same courtesy/respect/cowering?)

"Democrats are worried," said Tad Devine, a veteran of those Kerry efforts.

The most important point in that story: "Most of the independent groups that would have taken the lead in such an independent campaign have been sidelined by Obama's insistence that Democratic donors channel their money to him," Weisman and Bacon write.

Such serenity from Obamaland, except: "Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, said in an interview with the Financial Times that the Mr Obama's Republican rival John McCain was seeing a 'short-term blip' as a result of the advertising," per the Financial Times' Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Edward Luce.

Said Daschle: "To a certain extent the ads are having some effect. . . . But you can't be thrown off your game plan by a momentary dip in polls."

Some analysis from the other side: "At least temporarily, Mr. Obama's tactics have raised a damning political question: Who is this man?" Michael Gerson writes in his column. "And the McCain campaign has begun to cleverly exploit these concerns, not with a frontal attack on his liberalism or his flip-flops, but with a humorous attack on his 'celebrity' -- really a proxy for shallowness."

Bad for the brand: The New York Times follows The Washington Post's reporting on some rather questionable donations flowing McCain's way (and this story is building, slowly, into Hsu part two).

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