$55 Million

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Obama brings in the money. I've been lambasting the Clintons today. Surprise! So allow me to make some critical points about the Obama campaign. He needs to get off the pedestal. The Clintons are awful but the race isn't over and there is an absolutely legitimate concern among some Democrats that among key white ethnic voters, he hasn't yet closed the deal. It's perfectly understandable that super-delegates are worried that Obama is too vulnerable on national security, too unknown, too risky a bet against McCain. I think they're wrong, but I've long since internalized and figured out why I think that. So has Obama. But many others haven't. And in a democracy, those many others count, as they should.

So some specific thoughts:

1. Obama himself should not go negative directly against the Clintons. His surrogates can and should. I, for one, am perfectly happy to splash around in the muck for a while, if it means we get more transparency from the Clintons and greater awareness among Democrats of the enormous electoral risks of allowing that couple and their warring, dysfunctional teams back into the White House. But Obama needs to keep on message about his ability to say goodbye to all that, to forge a post-Rove, post-Morris politics for a country in too much trouble to be allowed to convulse into red and blue jerking knees again. The ability to go negative and positive is crucial - more crucial now, I'd say, than it will be in the fall. Limbaugh is right about this: the Clintons are far less scrupulous than McCain.

2. Obama needs to get out there door-to-door again, talk to the working poor, engage Reagan Democrats, explain his positions on the war, and the economy and healthcare, reiterate why he can get stuff done in a way that the polarizing psycho-drama of the Clintons cannot. Save the great speeches for later. More round-tables; get on a bus; show you can work as hard as she can. Stop looking so aloof.

3. Forget about the delegate math.

Stop claiming you've won already or that the Clintons cannot win. Remember that your job is to win the argument about the future of the US and the world. Make this campaign about your kind of politics rather than the Clinton-Bush style of politics. This race will not be decided by a delegate count. It will be decided by a collective decision about the better candidate some time in the next few months. Math is not an argument; it's an analysis.

4. Make a speech about the Internet slurs. Stop ducking them. Confront them. Talk about your Christian faith and your childhood exposure to Islam. Tell people about your parents. Debunk that idiotic pledge of allegiance meme. Grab the flag pin issue by the lapels. Do it all at once undefensively. Yes, it will raise the profile of every single slur. But if you rebut them candidly, gracefully, calmly, you will defuse them. You can run but you can't hide from Internet crapola. So confront it; defeat it. Right now, on these issues alone, the Obama camp is actually captive to the politics of fear. Don't be.

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