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Obama Now Leading Hillary by 10 Points in New Hampshire

Also former presidential candidate and NJ Senator Bill Bradley will endorse Obama this Monday.
 
 
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UPDATE II: Bill Bradley is reportedly going to endorse Obama on Monday

UPDATE: Obama Now Leading Hillary by 10 Points in New Hampshire

Over the last couple of weeks, the gap in New Hampshire between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the Democratic side, and Mitt Romney and John McCain on the Republican side, has been shrinking considerably.

The question, of course, is whether the results of the Iowa caucuses would affect the New Hampshire race, and if so, how much.

In what I believe it the first poll conducted after the caucus results were announced, Rasmussen has new numbers for the political world to chew on. The pollster’s site has apparently crashed, but David Kurtz posted the numbers:

Dems: Obama 37%, Clinton 27%

Republicans: McCain 31%, Romney 26%

A few thoughts:

* I don’t know where Edwards fit into the mix.

* Because Rasmussen’s site is down, we can’t get a sense of the trend (or the methodology).

* Before anyone gets too excited about these numbers, remember that Rasmussen didn’t exactly nail the Iowa results (it had Clinton ahead throughout).

All of that aside, if Obama really is up by 10 points, that’s quite a bump.

***

This morning, Bill Clinton told ABC News that New Hampshire can make Hillary Clinton the "comeback kid," just as it did for him 16 years ago. He sounded an optimistic note: "She's got a better profile here. They know more about her now than they did about me then. And I think she'll be fine. We just get out and go."

That, of course, isn't quite as easy as it sounds. Obviously, despite yesterday's setback, Clinton is far too strong a candidate to write off at this point. All of her strengths -- fundraising, operation, name recognition -- are exactly as they were 24 hours ago. Primaries in New York, New Jersey, and California are coming up, and Clinton is still poised to do quite well in each.

But the question is nevertheless glaring: what does Hillary Clinton do now?

"Electability" seems to be out; people aren't really buying it. "Inevitability" is definitely out; coming in third in Iowa pretty much took care of that one. Does she change her message? Go (very) negative? Stay the course?

TNR's Michael Crowley heard campaign aides furiously pitch reporters on route to New Hampshire last night and got a sense of the road ahead.

Soon after, Mark Penn appeared in the aisle. Penn doesn't care much for reporters and he suffered the scrum around him with a mild grimace. Penn invoked the other key refrain of the night: "experience," and Hillary's preparedness for the White House. Some campaigns respond to defeat by retooling -- think of George W. Bush re-casting himself a "Reformer With Results" after losing to John McCain in New Hampshire eight years ago. But Penn's talking points suggested that there will be no Hillary relaunch. She will evidently plow ahead with the same experience message Iowans rejected last night.

Penn, the number-cruncher, also emphasized the terrain on which he feels most comfortable: polls. As of Thursday morning, he told the hacks straining to catch his deadpanned observations, Hillary was a clear leader in the national polls.

"National polls"? Really? Isn't it pretty clear by now that they don't mean anything in a state-by-state race, and that national polls can shift on a dime? If anyone doubts this, ask Rudy Giuliani about his love of national polls.

Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of Salon.com's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.

 
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