Questions About Obama

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For the first time in two months, Democrats who had concluded that Barack Obama had sewn up the nomination, Democrats who support Barack Obama, Democrats who had concluded, as I had, that the mathematics work against Hillary Clinton, are filling my inbox and voice mail with versions of the same question: is his campaign in serious trouble?

I dunno. I still think the math works against Clinton. More so, if no Florida and Michigan 2.0

But something is trembling beneath the surface.

One neutral long-time Obama observer writes that Obama has been "whipsawed" by Wrigbt and Michigan/Florida, two external events over which he has no control.

Note that the Clinton campaign has said word ZERO about the Wright story. I'm told that campaign manager Maggie Williams issued an edict to staff members and surrogates and top fundraisers, urging them to hold their tongues. That the Clinton campaign was able to keep to this discipline may turn out to be the most consequential tactial move they've made in months. If anyone associated with the campaign had waded into the Wright affair, it would have been politicized in a way that probably would have hurt Clinton and not Obama.

The seeming kiboshing that was done to the new primaries in Florida and Michigan is, on its face, a huge victory for Obama. But Clinton's visit tomorrow will press the issue in a way that is bound to force Obama's hand to some extent. There is an urgency to the situation in Michigan, as the legislature has a few days to act before it goes on recess. The Obama campaign's reasons for throwing up obstacles in Michigan are mostly political. They know it, the Clinton campaign knows it, and by tomorrow, it's clear that many Michigan Democrats will know it.

All of this is to say that weirdness and uncertainty of the week has given superdelegates a reason to think this race through, once again. And there is only one candidate, at this point, who benefits from a re-think. It ain't Obama.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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