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A morning endorsement from Bruce Springsteen will help Barack Obama dominate the news cycle heading into tonight's debate. That, coupled with some new poll numbers and a newspaper endorsement, helps drag Clinton's ship down by two points to a 10.4 percent chance of winning the nomination.
Barack Obama may have E Street to thank if he ever lives on Pennsylvania Avenue. Bruce Springsteen endorsed Obama today, the first mega-celebrity to endorse since Oprah, Babs, and the gang in January. While Obama could've used the Boss' backing before New Jersey's primary on Feb. 5 (Obama lost by 10 points), today's timing actually works well for Obama. Springsteen is a perfect emissary for the campaign in the wake of Obama's "cling" comments in San Francisco. The Boss acknowledges as much and writes in his endorsement that "[w]hile these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man's life and vision." If Obama can coax Springsteen onto the trail in Pennsylvania, that will start to nullify Clinton's and McCain's claims that he's an elitist. The less traction Clinton gets on that issue, the more desperate she looks. Desperate candidates don't become the nominee.
But Clinton isn't giving up. She released the first attack ad since the lead-up to Wisconsin's primary, using man-on-the-street interviews to hammer Obama on his "bitter" gaffe. Obama responded with two rebuttal ads that don't attack Clinton directly but guide the conversation back to Obama's legislative record. We'd call this spat a draw, but Obama is reportedly outspending Clinton on advertising by at least 2-to-1. He wins this round.
The polls, meanwhile, are grim for Clinton. More surveys are starting to include the post-bitter landscape, and none of the reputable outfits shows a major shift toward Clinton. New Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg data show Clinton ahead by just five points in Pennsylvania. Public Policy Polling (PDF) has Obama in the lead by three points. A glimmer of sunshine: She demolishes him in Kentucky, according to SurveyUSA.
Moving along, Obama, not Clinton, picked up the endorsement from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The paper said Clinton has an antiquated view of America and that she's "doing the work of Republicans" by attacking Obama. Industrial Western Pennsylvania should be a Clinton stronghold, so this endorsement does not bode well. Mix that in with an Indiana superdelegate for Obama and rumors of a few others coming down the pipeline today, and today is looking bleak for Clinton in the endorsement category.
But all is not lost! Clinton picked up two New Jersey add-on delegates. No surprises here: They're from New Jersey, which, as we've discussed, is a state Clinton won. But delegates are delegates, and Clinton now has two more.
The only other good news for Hillary is that USA Today ran a front-page story asking why Obama says he doesn't take money from lobbyists, yet has fundraisers who do. On a Boss-less day, this may have found some traction on cable news and in tonight's debate. Instead, Springsteen's announcement that Obama is "Born To Run" for president will overshadow any negative coverage.