The Filter: 1.27.08

A round-up of this morning's must-read stories--live from the Hilton Garden Inn in lovely Boca Raton, Florida.

THE NEWSWEEK ROSTER:

JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF
(Evan Thomas and Suzanne Smalley)

Bill Clinton has morphed from statesman into attack dog. Everyone's barking back—except, perhaps, the voters.

HERE AN F.O.B., THERE AN F.O.B.
(Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball)
Since leaving office, Bill's gotten by with a little help from his friends. Now he's re-examining his circle.

I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME SNORE
(Julia Baird) 
In a new book, 30 female writers critique Hillary Clinton. Again. And again. And still miss the point. 

ROMNEY: 'LOOK AT MY RECORD'
(Howard Fineman)

Romney wants to fix the economy and Washington, but first he has to repair his own reputation.

OBAMA PLAYS OFFENSE
(Jonathan Alter)

The senator tells NEWSWEEK he's 'not going to back down.' But he knows he'll get knocked around.

EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE
(Arian Campo-Flores)

As Feb. 5 draws near, a stark racial divide appears to be hardening. The campaigns are trying to soften it.

A COMPLETE AND UTTER BUZZ KILL
(Holly Bailey)

Thompson's closest aides on how their ex-boss screwed up

 
THE BEST OF THE REST:

OBAMA WINS SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY
(Jeff Zeleny and Marjorie Connelly, New York Times)

Senator Barack Obama won a commanding victory over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, drawing a wide majority of black support and one-quarter of white voters in a contest that sets the stage for a multistate fight for the party’s presidential nomination. In a bitter campaign here infused with discussions of race, Mr. Obama’s convincing victory puts him on equal footing with Mrs. Clinton — with two wins each in early-voting states — and gives him fresh momentum as the contest plunges into a nationwide battle over the next 10 days. 

A PRESIDENT LIKE MY FATHER
(Caroline Kennedy, New York Times)

Over the years, I’ve been deeply moved by the people who’ve told me they wished they could feel inspired and hopeful about America the way people did when my father was president. This sense is even more profound today. That is why I am supporting a presidential candidate in the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama. 

ANALYSIS: RACIAL DIVIDE COULD HURT OBAMA
(Nedra Pickler, Associated Press) 

The questions surrounding 's victory in : Was the split between white and black voters an anomaly in a state were the Confederate flag still flies on the statehouse grounds? Or has the Clinton campaign successfully marginalized him as the "black candidate?" What's clear is that for Obama to win the nomination, he will have to improve his performance among white voters over South Carolina. Being the clear favorite among blacks won't be enough as the candidates turn to 22 states that hold contests on Feb. 5.

OBAMA WEATHERS A TEST OF METTLE
(Patrick Healy, New York Times)

If the South Carolina result buoyed the Obama team, it left Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign facing a new set of questions. Her advisers’ steady attacks on Mr. Obama appeared to prove fruitless, if not counterproductive, and the attack-dog role of former President Bill Clinton seemed to have backfired. Surveys of voters leaving the polls showed that many Democrats who believed that Mr. Clinton’s role in the campaign was important ended up voting for Mr. Obama.

FURTHER THOUGHTS ON S.C. AND WHAT LIES AHEAD
(Chris Cillizza, Washington Post)

 Obama's dominance of the black vote in South Carolina is a remarkable accomplishment. But looking ahead to the Super Tuesday states, black voters will not be as dominant. Of the ten Feb. 5 states in which exit polling was conducted in the 2004 Democratic presidential race, only one -- Georgia -- has a similar percentage of black voters (47 percent). In 2004, 23 percent of the Tennessee Democratic electorate and 20 percent of the New York electorate was black. Obama will need to make gains among white voters to win as convincingly a week from Tuesday.

UNITY ISN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE
(Ezra Klein, Los Angeles Times)

Gridlock is not something the president of the United States can solve. Political gridlock begins in the U.S. Senate, but we keep trying to end it in the White House. There is no potential executive in either party who would not like to manifest his or her agenda by sheer force of will. But in reality, President Mike Bloomberg would be as stymied as President Hillary Clinton or President Mitt Romney, because you don't get a doctor's note exempting you from the legislative process just because you ran, or even govern, as an independent. If you don't believe me, ask Arnold Schwarzenegger, the classic post-partisan unifier who couldn't attract a single Republican vote for his centrist health plan when it went before the Assembly. 

IN FLA., MCCAIN AND ROMNEY ARGUE ABOUT IRAQ
(Michael D. Shear and Julie Eilperin, Washington Post)

Sen. John McCain of Arizona accused former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney of having once supported a U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq, sparking an angry demand for an apology from Romney, who called the statement "dishonest." Both Republicans abandoned all pretense of civility as they campaigned across central Florida in advance of the state's primary Tuesday. Recent polls show a dead heat between McCain and Romney, and the winner here will gain a huge advantage as the nomination fight moves to 21 states a week later.

 

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