Everyone knows that money is important for campaigns. But for Sen. Obama, his ability to stay within hailing distance of Hillary Clinton isn't just important for his success, but it is important for the tenor of the Democratic primary.
This was illustrated at a Harvard forum, featuring Clinton's pollster and chief strategist Mark Penn. Penn previewed the Clinton line of attack, saying that there really was no difference on Clinton and Obama's stance on Iraq.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's pollster gave a sneak preview of her strategy for combatting Barack Obama's criticism for her support of the Iraqi war, telling a Harvard audience Monday that the two behaved similarly on the issue ''when they got to the Senate.'' ...
Penn said: ''When they got to the Senate, Senator Obama's votes were
exactly the same. So let's not try to create false differences when we both agree it's time to deescalate, when we both agree it's time to end this war, and let's be clear that Senator Clinton thinks that, Senator Obama thinks that, former Senator Edwards thinks that, and once we agree on that, I think we can go together quite well as a party.''
The fundamental dishonesty of this attack is Rovian in scale (I have little doubt that Penn would consider that a compliment). But the Clinton folks can make this work if they are able to spend twice as much money as Obama.
On the other hand, if he can keep the money race close, he should be able to repel this blatantly false attack. Obama and Clinton had different stances on the war. We all know that. And as long as Obama can raise enough money, the American people will know that too.