Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On air and on message

It's clear that the Clinton campaign's message in the wake of her win in Pennsylvania is this: "She's winning the states we have to win in November." Longtime Clintonista Terry McAuliffe had to have said it a half a dozen times in his interview with Wolf Blitzer.

Obama supporter U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) is also on message: Obama's a first-time national candidate, "he's already demonstrated that he can bring the country together," and Obama's campaign "already has a real strong foundation" to run on in the fall. Casey is also folding in the argument about "free media" and how it balanced Obama's massive media buy in the Keystone State: He's saying that Clinton benefited from sharing a name with the former president, and that free media just reinforced Pennsylvanians' familiarity with the Clinton brand.

That's a weak argument, as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't say much for Pennsylvanians' ability to think for themselves, for one thing, and it discounts completely the tidal wave of interest that Obama's campaign has generated nationwide. To believe Casey's argument, one has to believe that Pennsylvania has been under some sort of media blackout for the past 12 months that has precluded residents there from getting to know Obama.