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Editorial: Obama foils pundits again

Barack Obama withstood the Clinton campaign blitz in North Carolina in impressive style Tuesday. Despite the distraction of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s grandstanding, and despite the appearance of Hillary, Bill or Chelsea Clinton in every hamlet and town of the state, Obama won about 56 percent of the Democratic votes in North Carolina, leaving Hillary Clinton 14 points behind at 42 percent.
Once again, the pundits were wrong. They said the large lead Obama enjoyed going into this primary a month ago had eroded to less than 10 percent, thanks to the Clintons’ relentless courting of working class whites ó i.e., people who could be scared off by Wright’s histrionics. And voters had a strong alternative in Hillary Clinton. The appearance in Salisbury by the former president and Hillary certainly made an impression. Rowan Democrats split their primary votes nearly evenly between Obama and Clinton ó 49 percent to 47 percent. Statewide, though, Obama had greater impact. Clinton’s narrow victory in Indiana ó an industrial, Midwestern state expected to go strongly in her favor ó also bodes well for Obama.
Republicans should see an omen in the strong, enthusiastic turnout among Democrats. Obama’s “Change We Can Believe In” campaign has awakened a sleeping giant ó the Democratic electorate. Rather than tear the party apart, the prolonged fight for the nomination is enhancing the effect. More than 16,429 ballots were cast in the Democratic presidential race in Rowan, compared to 9,778 on the GOP side. Competition appears to be a good thing for Democrats.

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