The new narrative - Obama surging, McCain struggling

We will wake tomorrow with a new media narrative - Barack Obama surging on the Democratic side, and John McCain stumbling on the Republican side.

With 60 percent in from Maine, Barack leads 57-42 in a state many thought Senator Clinton would win. His wins last night were in 3 different regions and by large margins. He was endorsed today by newspapers in Baltimore, Cleveland, Dallas, El Paso,and San Antonio. He continues to raise unprecedented amounts of money fueled by an unprecedented number of supporters. He leads John McCain in most early matchups. Today the message coming from the Clinton world was the firing of their campaign manager, and complaints about an NBC correspondent's words (however virtuous this effort is, it is not what a struggling campaign wants to be focusing on).

I explored the nature the Democratic race in this post yesterday.

The Republican story is one of weakness not strength. Mike Huckabee won 2 states last night, and perhaps a third, WA, which is having all sorts of difficultly explaining why it called the race for McCain before the votes were counted. Major GOP leaders like Tom DeLay, James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh have not agreed to support McCain if he wins. McCain has no money, no organization and is being hugged by Bush.

Yesterday, I offered more thoughts on all McCain's challenges here.

Update: Obama wins Maine by a large margin. His remarkable week continues.  And, incredibly, Senator Obama also brings home a Grammy.

McCain's weakness on full display tonight

For the last several days I've been suggesting that the challenge McCain faces in uniting his party is unprecedented in modern American political history. Right now Huckabee is leading in Washington and Louisiana and won Kansas earlier today. As impressive as Obama's victories are tonight, Huckabee's strong showing and McCain's weak one - further reinforcing how hard it is going to be for McCain to bring his party together - is the big story tonight.

Sun Update: Josh Marshall is doing a good job following the wierdness of the WA GOP calling the race for McCain last night before all the votes were counted.

Both sides go on to March 4th

Well, what we now know is that both sides will be going on without an actual declared winner till at least March 4th, perhaps longer.

While McCain did well last night, his opponents won a majority of the states in play and I think did well enough to go on through at least March 4th. So on the GOP side we now have a 3 man race, with McCain a wobbly, broke and unlikely frontrunner. The Arizona Senator is now in a precarious position as any loss could end up delivering a terrible blow to his campaign, and we saw last night he is leading but not yet consolidating. There is more drama left on the GOP side.

On the Democratic side we now enter the 3rd phase of the nominating process, the post Feb 5th through March 4th phase. This phase has Clinton and Obama essentially even in the national polls, close in delegates, both deploying strong strategies and issue arguments that have allowed them to win diverse coalitions in all regions of the country.

At this point what may be the greatest difference between them is the far superior Obama virtual network that has become the most powerful and most modern grassroots campaign in Democratic Party history. This people powered political organization was tested and produced on Feb 5th, but will be even more dramatically tested now. Will it continue to produce the money it has this past month? Will it begin to put dramatic pressure on undecided super-delegates and elected officials to choose Obama? Will the campaign challenge its supporters to step up and not just give but play an unprecedented advocacy role, hitting their social networks across the country, matching through their incredible passion the power of the TV ads, to keep creating what I called the other day "a virtuous cycle of participation?" Will this campaign really become not about Barack but about them? And can Hillary match?

Calling Joe Rospars.....

Update: Chris Cillizza has a new story on the Clinton's loaning their campaign $5 million. It is worth a read.

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