The Filter: 2.20.08

A round-up of this morning's must-read stories.

YESTERDAY'S RESULTS
(In case Stumper is your only source of election news. I'm flattered.)

Wisconsin (D)
Obama: 58 percent
Clinton: 41 percent

Hawaii (D)
Obama: 76 percent
Clinton: 24 percent

Wisconsin (R)
McCain: 55 percent
Huckabee: 37 percent
Paul: 5 percent

Washington (R)
McCain: 49 percent
Huckabee: 22 percent
Paul: 8 percent

WISCONSIN AND HAWAII HAND VICTORIES TO OBAMA
(Patrick Healy and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times)

Senator Barack Obama decisively beat Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary and the Hawaii caucuses on Tuesday night, accelerating his momentum ahead of crucial primaries in Ohio and Texas and cutting into Mrs. Clinton’s support among women and union members. With the two rivals now battling state by state over margins of victory and allotment of delegates, surveys of voters leaving the Wisconsin polls showed Mr. Obama, of Illinois, making new inroads with those two groups as well as middle-age voters and continuing to win support from white men and younger voters — a performance that yielded grim tidings for Mrs. Clinton, of New York.

OBAMA WIN SETS STAGE FOR SHOWDOWN
(Ben Smith, Politico)

Senator Barack Obama picked up steam with ninth straight victory in Wisconsin, beating Senator Hillary Clinton in a state where she had no clear excuse for defeat, and leaving her no leeway at all for further major losses.  His win sets the stage for showdowns in Texas and Ohio on March 4, two states Clinton's supporters acknowledge she must win... The results in Wisconsin, like those in Virginia, suggest that the next two states are an uncertain firewall for Clinton. Wisconsin has only half the African-American population of Ohio, and shares some of its characteristics, with a large white working class, and broad disenchantment with trade and globalization. 

OBAMA CHIPS AWAY AT CLINTON'S USUAL HARD CORE OF SUPPORTERS
(Paul Kane and Jon Cohen, Washington Post)

After the Super Tuesday primaries two weeks ago, Sen. Barack Obama faced continuing questions about the support he could draw from lower-income white voters and those with less education, who had to that point proved to be the bedrock of support for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. But yesterday the senator from Illinois broke deep into Clinton's base in Wisconsin. He solidified gains he made in last week's Potomac Primary, proving competitive among some key Wisconsin voting blocs that had been backing the senator from New York and overtaking her among others... "She's narrowly winning her base. He's overwhelmingly winning his," Mellman said. "There's no question that Senator Clinton is on the defensive. Senator Obama has proven that he can win the kinds of voters that he needs to win" in states such as Texas and Ohio.

OBAMA HAS UPPER HAND
(Ron Fournier, Associated Press)

The Democratic nomination is now Barack Obama's to lose. After 10 consecutive defeats - including a heartbreaker in tailor-made Wisconsin on Tuesday - Hillary Rodham Clinton can't win the nomination unless Obama makes a major mistake or her allies reveal something damaging about the Illinois senator's background. Don't count her out quite yet, but Wisconsin revealed deep and destructive fractures in the Clinton coalition. It's panic-button time.

WISCONSIN? TEXAS AND OHIO ARE WHERE ALL THE ACTION HAS GONE
(John M. Broder and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times)

The similar themes illustrate the parallel approaches that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are taking to the Ohio and Texas primaries, which will be held March 4, along with those of Rhode Island and Vermont. Both campaigns acknowledged the central importance of the contests in Ohio and Texas, where pocketbook issues of struggling families have emerged as a central concern. The four states together will decide 370 pledged delegates, the second-largest trove after the 22 contests on Feb. 5. Depending on the popular vote outcome and the complex delegate math, the March 4 votes could give Mr. Obama a commanding lead, put Mrs. Clinton ahead or leave them essentially tied and looking toward the next big-state contest, Pennsylvania on April 22.

IN POLITICS, INSPIRATION OR PLAGIARISM IS A FINE LINE
(Sam Roberts, New York Times)

The accusation on Monday by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign that Senator Barack Obama recently plagiarized a passage from a speech delivered two years ago by a friend has opened a door to charges and countercharges about borrowed phrases and unattributed inspiration in the 2008 campaign. But it also revived questions raised in 1993 about whether President Bill Clinton, in his Inaugural Address, borrowed references to springtime from two sources without crediting them at the time.

MCCAIN'S RISE MAY UPSET DEMOCRATS' WESTERN STRATEGY
(Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post)

For Democrats, 2008 was supposed to be the year of the Mountain West, when three years of relentless Republican attacks on undocumented immigrants would fuel a backlash among Hispanics that would change the playing field in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, and perhaps alter the landscape of presidential politics for a generation. But the emergence of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as the likely standard-bearer for the GOP may have scrambled the equation, cooling a potential political revolt among Hispanics and sending Democrats in search of a new playbook. 

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