Obama's Delta Win

Buoyed by an overwhelming edge among African-American voters, Barack Obama cruised to victory over Hillary Clinton in the Mississippi primary, posting a 60-37 percent margin and teeing up a crucial showdown in Pennsylvania, the next major contest in the quest for the Democratic presidential nomination.Obama, seeking to become America's first African-American president, has enjoyed strong support from black voters throughout the nominating process. But here in the Delta Tuesday night the racial divide was especially stark. According to exit polls, Obama outpolled Clinton among black voters 91-9. White voters preferred Clinton by a slightly narrower 72-21 percent margin.If the outcome and the racial math were predictable (African-Americans accounted for roughly half the Democratic primary vote), Mississippians did provide a few modest surprises at the ballot box. Exit polls showed some 59 percent of voters disapproved of Clinton's attack ads—part of a strategy that was widely viewed...

Obama's Next Moves

After losing Ohio and Texas, his camp hints that they'll target the Clintons more harshly

Who Is Michelle Obama?

She's the one who keeps him real, the one who makes sure running for leader of the free world doesn't go to his head. Michelle's story.

The Expectation Gap

Obama and Clinton each claim they can bring about change. But candidates have been promising that forever, so why should voters buy in this time? A reality check.

A Simmering Debate in S.C.

Family therapists might want to study the two Democratic get-togethers over the last week. Both were nominally about race in America, and  both involved the same three candidates. One became known as the kumbaya conversation, in which the candidates embraced one another's records on civil rights and racial issues. The other was a bloodbath in which the same candidates slashed and sliced their way through one another's reputations, voting records and campaign quotes.In Las Vegas last week Hillary Clinton insisted that Democrats needed to hug each other more and start swinging at the real enemy. "We are so different from the Republicans on all of these issues, in every way that affects the future of the people that we care so much about," she  said. "So I think that it's appropriate on Dr. King's birthday, his actual birthday, to recognize that all of us are here as the result of what he did, all of the sacrifice, including giving his life, along with so many of the other icons that...

The Incremental Revolutionary

The Clintons' line about Obama is that he's all talk and little action—star of 'the biggest fairy tale I have ever seen,' said Bill. So what's the reality?

Hillary’s Family Intervention: Is It Too Late?

Hillary Clinton's ritual end-of-day conference call with senior advisers on Dec. 11 was anything but a normal strategy session. Clinton's aides had just learned of the next day's New York Daily News story (headline: HONEY, I'LL FIX THE CAMPAIGN), about Bill Clinton yelling at his wife's team and the prospect of a campaign staff shake-up. "I want to be really clear about one thing," Clinton said, chuckling, according to a person on the call. "We're not having a shake-up. This is what people do to distract us. We're not going to allow ourselves to get distracted. No one is going anywhere."That pledge may have calmed her aides, but it doesn't change the fact that Clinton's campaign is struggling at an alarmingly late moment before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. Last Friday, her team released a cozy TV ad featuring Clinton's mother and daughter in a bid to humanize the candidate and recover in the polls after sustained attacks by Barack Obama and John Edwards. Campaign operatives also plan...

Putting On Their Game Faces

Democratic voters, stung by crushing defeats in 2000 and 2004, may just want a candidate who can win. How Obama and Clinton are each making the case.

Barack Strikes Back

He's still a little uneasy pursuing politics as a game, played to win. But Obama is suiting up now.

Lost in the Cornfields

Is John Edwards in trouble in Iowa? Peg Dunbar thinks so. She signed up as a county chair for Edwards in the northeastern town of Waverly earlier this year, after backing the former senator's campaign in 2004. Now she has changed her mind and switched to Hillary Clinton. "John Edwards has been in Iowa for four and a half years and he's in third place," she says. "He should be in first place. Granted, it's very, very close. But I don't see him going anywhere and I don't go with a loser."Dunbar is one of four county chairs—essential figures in any Iowa campaign—who have backed out since being identified as Edwards chairs in a June press release. Ernie Schiller of Lee County says he's now undecided, Frank Best of Louisa County has switched to Obama and Jody Ewing is supporting Bill Richardson.Iowa voters are notoriously fickle and pick their candidates late in the game. But county chairs are not just any voters. They are the key grass-roots figures who help deliver votes on caucus...

The Gospel According to Obama

During a stop in Tennessee last year, Barack Obama met with a group of black ministers. Among the topics they discussed: gay marriage, which Obama opposes, like most of his audience that day. But Obama challenged the preachers to stop exploiting the issue as a political wedge. "If there's a pastor here who can point out a marriage that has been broken up as a consequence of seeing two men or two women holding hands, then you should tell me," Obama said, "because I haven't seen any evidence of it."Obama recounted the story in August at a Los Angeles debate on gay and lesbian issues, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. But it did him little good last week as the HRC and several bloggers blasted him for inviting gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to headline a campaign event in South Carolina, where Obama is engaged in a close fight with Hillary Clinton for black voters. McClurkin sang at Bill Clinton's 1992 convention and President Bush's in 2004. But he's also reviled in the gay...

Notes from the Dept. of Counting Chickens, Hillary Clinton Edition

It's one thing to believe you have the presidential nomination in the bag several months before the first votes are cast. But what does it say about a campaign when you're ready to celebrate several weeks before a debate?That's what happened today on the Clinton campaign's Website. For a communications team that has a reputation for perfection, the Clinton group made the rookie mistake of posting what looked like a template for local groups to influence their hometown newspapers.Perhaps the best line: "Insert quote from party host here--You can use the talking points on the Club44 web site to help you develop your quote about why you support Hillary Clinton. Ann Lewis will also provide you some guidance on the post-debate conference call."There's nothing like a spontaneous outpouring of support for a candidate, after another successful debate. Complete with talking points, conference calls and developed quotes. Even if the debate in question is to...

The Man Without Doubt

A man with a reputation for secrecy and seclusion, Vice President Dick Cheney has spent the past few months out in public. He campaigned in the midterm elections, traveled to Saudi Arabia to talk security and eulogized former president Gerald Ford. Last week the perjury trial of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby Jr., exposed what Libby's lawyer cast as tensions between aides to Cheney and President George W. Bush during the CIA press leak in 2003. In his first print interview since the GOP lost control of Congress, Cheney spoke to NEWSWEEK's Richard Wolffe. Excerpts: ...