Carol Platt Liebau: Beating Barack in the Fundraising Derby

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Beating Barack in the Fundraising Derby

Hillary Clinton has pulled ahead of Barack Obama, at least temporarily, in the fundraising derby.

This inevitably must set off alarms in the Obama camp, because it's been his fundraising prowess that has done much to lift Barack into the top tier of Democratic contenders, suggesting that he may have more to him than simply a great smile and a lot of charisma.

Why has Barack fallen behind? Missteps like this. The downside of the youthful idealism Barack exudes -- which is at the heart of his attraction for many -- is a perception that he's dangerously naive, at a time of war when there's no margin for error (in contrast, for example, to 1992, when Americans felt safe enough to take a chance on Bill Clinton).

That's why Hillary has been smart to run on the theme of "experience" -- even if she tries to have it both ways by distancing herself from her husband's unpopular policies as she takes credit for his successes. And that's why Barack needs a second wind of some sort -- and a way to convince voters he's ready for prime time -- in order to have any chance of catching her.


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