The Washington Times - June 6, 2008, 07:30PM

I’m off the campaign trail after a week on Sen. Barack Obama‘s plane and had a story on today’s front page examining Sen. Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss.



While writing, I realized that no matter what happens from here, the Obama and Clinton destinies will forever be intertwined.


Here’s the story’s opener:


“I’m in, and I’m in to win,” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton declared on Jan. 20, 2007, when announcing she was embarking on a bid to become the first female president.
But she didn’t.
Democrats examining Mrs. Clinton’s surprising loss to Sen. Barack Obama cite underestimating her rival, a flawed fundraising strategy, or her failure to offer enough of what voters say they wanted: Change. Others say the aura of inevitability that built her up is what brought her down as some voters saw her as acting entitled.
Her aides early on focused on the wrong candidate - former Sen. John Edwards - thinking that Mr. Obama was a fad whose support was “a mile wide and an inch deep,” and would soon flame out. Instead, she was out-organized by the political newcomer whose massive rallies and strong support with young voters have Republicans scared.
Had the former first lady and senator from New York imitated Sen. John McCain and skipped the Iowa caucuses - as one top staffer recommended early on - Mr. Obama’s win there may not have carried so much weight.
Instead, she fought hard in Iowa and burned through cash on a helicopter tour, on ads that pushed a message that wasn’t working, and on shovels for snowy driveways on caucus night to help her older supporters get to the caucus. The efforts and spending didn’t help, and her third-place showing did what Obama allies had hoped: cast doubt on the inevitability surrounding her candidacy.
Caught off guard by his fundraising, she didn’t adjust quickly enough to focus on small donations that built the Obama fundraising juggernaut. He considered purchases of $1 bumper stickers as donations, a strategy that helped him build his war chest early.
Once she caught up and deployed similar tactics, the money flowed from dedicated supporters, but it was too late.
Mr. Obama has not had time to celebrate his own historic bid to become the first black president before Mrs. Clinton dominated coverage with the issue of whether and how she will concede. She is to make her official endorsement of the senator from Illinois on Saturday.


Read my full story at:


Also, click here to view a fun spoof The Daily Show did making fun of pundits who said Clinton was inevitable.


A programming note: I’ll be on vacation for a few days now the primary season is (finally) over.


Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times