A bridge and a tightrope.

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While the commentariat was going on and on last week as though the implications of the Hillary-Barack spat was all about Hollywood and who it will support, those inside the campaign were telling me that their real concern was elsewhere–with the African-American vote. (Truth be told, as far as most voters are concerned, seeing a candidate cavorting with celebrities is a big turn-off, though the pols are perfectly happy to accept the money). One Clinton strategist I talked to told me that picking a fight with Obama was simply stupid, because so many influential African-Americans are now walking “a tightrope” between their loyalties to the Clintons and the excitement in their communities over the prospect of electing the first African-American President. And the results of yesterday’s Washington Post poll would certainly seem to bear that out.

Fast forward to this weekend, and the annual civil rights pilgrimage to the Edmund Pettus bridge. The news here is not only that both Clinton and Obama will be there, but that, in a last-minute schedule rearrangement, she is also bringing in the big gun: her husband, who will be making his first big public appearance with her since she announced. How, when and where to use Bill Clinton has been one of the trickiest questions facing her campaign, as I wrote in my cover story on Hillary Clinton last summer. If she campaigns with him at her side, he overshadows her, as he did at Coretta Scott King’s funeral. If he campaigns as her surrogate, it leaves the impression that this is all about a third term for him. And if he stays out of sight, people go back to wondering what the deal is, anyway, with that marriage. It’s interesting here that they seem to have found a way to balance the “optics,” with him coming in at the end of the day. This one will be worth watching:

10:45 a.m.

Hillary Clinton Speaks at Services at First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church

709 Martin Luther King, Jr. Street

Selma, Alabama

2:00 p.m.

Pre-March Rally

Brown Chapel A.M.E.

410 Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Selma, Alabama

2:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton Marches with the Faith and Politics Congressional Delegation, Community and Civil Rights Leaders in Re-Enactment of 1965 March Across Edmund Pettus Bridge

Edmund Pettus Bridge

Selma, Alabama

Approximately 3:00 p.m. (Immediately following the March)

Hillary Clinton Joins President Bill Clinton as He is Inducted into the Voting Rights Hall of Fame

Voting Rights Hall of Fame

Foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge

Selma, Alabama

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