Clintonsmariotamagetty

Democrats don't really want or trust her. If Obama can defuse his electability problems, she could be wiped out. From one focus group in Al Hunt's new column:

Obama, they worried, can't win the nomination; voters aren't ready for an African-American president (a point expressed most directly by the two black women participants), and he may not be sufficiently experienced.

A couple of victories in Iowa and New Hampshire would cure most of those problems.

The concerns about Clinton, 60, a New York senator, are that she is devious, calculating and, fairly or not, a divisive figure in American politics. Those are a lot tougher to overcome.

It was revealing, too, when Hart pushed them to envision these senators as leaders of the country or, as he put it, their ``boss.'' Obama, they say, would be inspirational, motivating, charismatic and compassionate. After praising Clinton's experience and intelligence, they say she would be demanding, difficult, maybe even a little scary.

The Democrats are picking between hope and fear, between the future and the past.

(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty.)

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