Pennsylvania becomes the new Democratic battleground

The Clinton campaign is well underway in retooling, strategizing, and organizing with the hopes to score big in April’s Pennsylvania primary. With the new found losses in Ohio and Texas, Obama is also working on retooling his message and sharpening his criticism of Clinton.

First, this story on Hillary from the The New York Times:

Advisers to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today began plotting a ground game, advertising budgets and a confidence-brimming outreach strategy in hopes of both scoring a big victory in April’s Pennsylvania primary and accumulating enough superdelegates over time to even the nomination fight against Senator Barack Obama.

Mr. Obama, who had 11 straight primary and caucus victories in February, has enjoyed momentum lately in picking off superdelegates, the party leaders who have a vote in the nomination. Mrs. Clinton and her advisers now believe that with her victories in Texas and Ohio last night, she can convince superdelegates to stand with her after a Pennsylvania victory.

She also believes that a strong showing in Pennsylvania, which has 188 delegates at stake, could set up a powerful one-two punch two weeks later in the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, which have a combined 218 delegates. Her team believes she has an especially good shot at winning Indiana, where the state’s influential Democratic senator, Evan Bayh, a former two-term governor, was one of Mrs. Clinton’s earliest supporters.

She can’t be beaten in advertising the way she’s been previously when moving from state to state. It also appears Bill will be taken out of hiding and Obama better check the skeletons in his closet:

In the short term, the campaign announced today that it was dispatching former President Bill Clinton tomorrow to Wyoming — which holds Democratic caucuses on Saturday — and on Friday to Mississippi, which holds presidential primaries next Tuesday. Mrs. Clinton’s upcoming travel plans are still under wraps.

As for other upcoming primaries, Mark Penn, the campaign’s chief strategist, predicted today that “a fuller vetting process” of Mr. Obama by the media would heighten concerns among voters about Mr. Obama’s candidacy and “open up a number of other states” where Mrs. Clinton could compete intensively for delegates. He spoke on a conference call with reporters.

In other words, a “fuller vetting process” is code for attacking Obama on a daily basis with the “kitchen sink” strategy.

Not to be outdone, Obama is also strategizing for the next contests, that story also from The New York Times:

Seeking to rebound from defeats Tuesday night in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, Senator Barack Obama’s campaign signaled on Wednesday that it was preparing to sharpen its critique of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, challenging her contention that she has been more thoroughly scrutinized than her opponent.

“She’s made the argument that she’s thoroughly vetted, in contrast to me,” Mr. Obama said as he flew back to Chicago from Texas Wednesday. “I think it’s important to examine that argument, because if the suggestion is somehow that, on issues of ethics or disclosure or transparency, that she’s going to have a better record than I have and will be better able to withstand Republican attacks, I think that’s an issue that should be tested.”

Shortly after that, Mr. Obama’s campaign put out a sharply worded memo criticizing Mrs. Clinton for not releasing her income tax returns; Mr. Obama has made his returns public.

“Though her campaign has tried to kick the issue down the road, Democratic voters deserve to know, right now, why it is she is hiding the information in her tax returns from last year,” the memo said.

It appears the “kitchen sink” strategy will soon be employed by both sides. Issues such as her tax returns seem minor compared to Obama’s flaps over NAFTA and the Rezko connection.

What happened on March 4th was proof that Obama is not untouchable. Now the Clinton campaign knows it and they will be working on figuring out how to continue putting that question of doubt in voter’s minds when considering Obama. Perhaps the national security “3am phone call ad” was the way to go in that respect. Maybe we’ll see similar ads popping up in other states.

  • Calista

    In Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton has opened a fifteen percentage point lead over Barack Obama. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows Clinton attracting 52% of the vote while Obama earns 37%.

    GO HILLARY!

  • Curtis

    ^ Yep! I just read saw that poll. Hillary has more good news to follow her election wins in Texas and Ohio. The next big contest comes in seven weeks where she goes in with several advantages.

    ::Hillary for President::

  • Don

    I hope Obama will win. With him the country can really change. He will be more succesful in keeping the American people safe. He might have taken one or two body shots, but he is still in a better shape and ahead on points in this fight. Obama will strike back. It’s time to beat and overcome the politics of fear.

    Obama 08!

  • Tahler

    As someone already mentioned, new Rasmussen poll has Hillary up 15 over Sen. Obama (52-37). Hillary’s lead increased by 11 since Rasmussen’s late February poll.

    =)