Obama is the Frontrunner

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For anyone who thinks this race might be a tie, and yes, David Axelrod, that includes you, there’s a lot of evidence today that Obama is now the frontrunner. He leads in number of states won, he leads by his own campaign’s tally in pledged delegates, he is so far ahead in the money race that his opponent is borrowing money and he clearly has the momentum coming out of Super Tuesday. How is he NOT the frontrunner??

Many of my colleagues will say: Never underestimate the Clintons. But looking at the caucus-heavy schedule through February they are going to have a tough slog for a positive news cycle for three looong weeks before they get to the more calendar-friendly March. If fundraising in January was hard when she was the New Hampshire “comeback kid” and had victories in Nevada, Florida and Michigan, finding money now is going to be twice the challenge.

Obama was asked at a press conference in Chicago this morning if it isn’t a little disingenuous to still be clinging to the “underdog” title. “I’m never disingenuous,” Obama said. “Here’s’ a fair way to put it: I think we are less of an underdog than we were two weeks ago. Now we’re slight underdogs.”

“If I were writing this story,” he said over the open laughs of reporters in the room. “If I were writing this story, what I would say would be: Senator Obama came in as a challenger two weeks ago who I think that nobody thought would come out of February 5th standing…. I think Senator Clinton remains the favorite because of the enormous familiarity that people have with her and the institutional support that she carries… I think we’re turning out to be a scrappy little team.”

Perhaps we’ve let him write the story a little too much – for a campaign so opposed to spin (one of Obama’s favorite stump lines, as said two days ago in Hartford, Connecticut: “I was convinced that the American people didn’t want spin, didn’t want PR, they wanted straight talk”), they have done a masterful job in managing news cycle expectations. We should not let him get away with calling himself the underdog and escape the glare of the frontrunner’s seat – a glare Hillary Clinton has endured for most of the campaign.