Declaring Victory? Bad Idea, Obama

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Barack Obama reportedly is not heading to Des Moines tomorrow to declare victory in his race against Hillary Clinton. After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries on May 6, an unnamed Obama staffer pointed to the Kentucky and Oregon primaries slated for tomorrow night. “On May 20,” he said, “we’re going to declare victory.” Now, the Obama camp is taking a milder approach.

That said, Obama doesn’t have to actually declare victory for the impression to be delivered. After all, he’s speaking in Des Moines, site of his victory in the Iowa caucuses four and a half months ago. The campaign has come full circle, is the obvious suggestion. The campaign started here and it ends here.

It’s too late for the site of the event to be changed, but there’s still time for me to insist, in agreement with Dana Goldstein, that this is a bad idea. The Clinton campaign has legions of supporters who feel their candidate is being unfairly pushed out of the race by the media and, to a lesser extent, the Obama campaign. Why lend (even more?) credence to their complaints? These are Democrats that Obama will need in the fall. He should avoid alienating them at all costs.

Montana and South Dakota, the final primaries, are June 3. Obama can’t wait 15 days?

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