Obama’s Path To Presidency Far From Clear: He Cannot Convert Publicity To Votes
The Democrat is winning fans on his trip abroad, but is struggling to gain real ground against McCain at home.
Some key Clinton backers remain alienated.
Even as his turn on the global stage hit a peak with a speech before 200,000 in Germany, Barack Obama faced new evidence of stubborn election challenges back home. New polls show that he has been unable to convert weeks of extensive, almost 24/7 fawning media coverage into a widened lead. And prominent Dems whose support could help are still not enthusiastic about him, still don’t trust him.
Several new surveys show that Obama is in a tight race or even losing ground to Republican John McCain, both nationally and in two important swing states, Colorado and Minnesota. One new poll offered a possible explanation for his troubles: A minority of voters see Obama as a familiar figure with whom they can identify.
Republicans are moving to exploit this vulnerability, trying to encourage unease among voters by building the impression that Obama’s overseas trip and other actions show he has a sense of entitlement that suggests he believes the White House is already his.
In Ohio on Thursday, McCain hit that theme: “I’d love to give a speech in Germany . . . but I’d much prefer to do it as president of the United States, rather than as a candidate for the office of presidency.”
Obama also faces discontent from some of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most ardent supporters, who are put off by what they describe as a campaign marked by hubris and a style dedicated to televised extravaganzas.
Susie Tompkins Buell, a major Clinton fundraiser, said: “The Clinton supporters that I know are bothered by these rock-star events. These spectacles are more about the candidate than they are about the party and the issues that we care about.”
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