There is an article from today's NY Times that indicates that the recent rhetoric out of the Hillary Clinton campaign and the candidate herself, calling Obama elitist, out of touch, and otherwise unfit for office after his comments about rural voters in Pennsylvania may have backfired with the Super Delegates.
I did not get a chance to read the entire article, but what I gleaned from it was that:
--the super delegates see it for what it is, a distraction, a tempest in a tea pot; and their choice of either Hillary or Obama will be grounded in a deeper and more complete understanding of both candidates and the delegates' judgment of who is the more likely to succeed in November.
--going on the attack may work in retail politics--and that is not even clear at this point--but it does not serve Hillary well with this super delegate group. My own hunch is that it is leading to "Bill Fatigue" for many of them, as they think about the baggage and distractions that plagued the Clintons when he was President. Even though much of it was preposterous, it was there, and it appears some of the super delegates don't think there is enough upside choosing Hillary over Obama to offset a return of some of that Clinton Halo/Hangover.
--they just want this thing to be over. Hillary's lingering just prolongs it at this point, her chances of winning at the convention are closing in on zero, so why protract the contest?
Obama had some interesting things to say the day after the debate. The excerpts I heard were to the effect "We were 45 minutes into the debate before the subjects of Iraq, the economy, health care, and the big issues the country faces started getting disucssion." The implicit remark was a significant part of the early portions of the debate were on largely trivial and non-consequential matters when it comes to choosing the next President.
I think Obama's comments were deliberately calculated to the super delegate audience. In fact, much of the symbolic stuff, like flag lapel pins and having the ability to connect with everyday people are very important in a leader and in winning a general election. HIs campaign seems to know that they need to stay "in the moment," which right now means locking up as many super delegates as they can in the next couple of weeks. Deal with the retail politics stuff later, but win the nomination or you won't have a chance to deal with the retail stuff. It's an interesting calculus, we shall see how it plays out.