The Clintons have regarded themselves as survivors in the rough world of politics. Certainly, never before in American history have a husband and wife been so tightly connected in the political arena. They have endured slanders and unfair accusations and still were able to gain electoral victories. Perhaps, the long term impact of brawling and fighting with any weapon at one’s command is to develop an attitude that victory is the only goal, not how it is accomplished. Senator Hillary Clinton’s remarks attacking Barack Obama over his membership in the church of Pastor Wright were nasty and vicious since the central issue of the Obama speech was about racism. Results from an NBC-WSJ poll indicate the American people were not impressed by how Senator Clinton is handling the campaign. Her positive ranking fell to an all time low of 37%.
Senator Obama apparently was only slightly damaged by the speech. Among those polled, 32% said he “sufficiently addressed the issue,” while 26% said he had to offer more and 31% did not see or hear about the speech. Of those who actually saw or read the speech, 47% said he did a good job and 37% wanted more from him. When asked which candidate could best unite the nation, 60% said Obama, 58% said McCain, and 46% said Clinton.
The real issue facing both Clinton and Obama is how much damage the campaign has done to their core supporters willingness to vote for the other candidate. We won’t know that answer until November.