The Rev. Wright resurfaces, which helps buoy Clinton's chances.

Down and on the way out.
April 28 2008 3:44 PM

The Hillary Deathwatch

The Rev. Wright resurfaces, buoying Clinton's chances.

The Hillary Deathwatch is now a widget. Add it to your Facebook page or blog.

With every new sound bite, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright bails another bucketful of water from Hillary Clinton's campaign dinghy. Meanwhile, Barack Obama is being pegged as a liability for Democrats in congressional races. Clinton's chances float up 0.5 points to 12.4 percent.

Advertisement

By the time Wright took to the stage this morning at the National Press Club, he had already made two high-profile appearances, on PBS and at an NAACP dinner in Detroit. Even though his rhetoric was calmer today than in Detroit, he managed to keep his name in the news, and, combined with his earlier remarks, he's sure to dominate the cable-news cycle. The conventional wisdom says that every time Wright shows up on a television screen, it hurts Obama, which we're inclined to believe for now. There's an outside chance that by going public with new comments, Wright can drown out the older, more inflammatory ones. But that's a nuanced view, and if this primary season has taught us anything, it's that nuance doesn't win elections.

But even if Wright wasn't making appearances in the flesh, he'd still be showing up on TV screens in some markets. A Mississippi Republican is using Obama and Wright in a new ad to attack his Democratic challenger for Congress. Obama has endorsed the Democratic candidate, Travis Childers, and the ad scolds Childers for not distancing himself from Obama after Obama didn't distance himself from Wright. This plus an earlier adfrom the North Carolina GOP featuring Wright and Obama may make some superdelegates skittish about supporting the senator. Picking a nominee isn't just to ensure your party controls the White House but also to help your party pick up seats in Congress. If Obama and Wright become a liability down-ballot, then Clinton may be seen as a better alternative.

With all of this bad news for Obama, we should note that the entire country doesn't hate him quite yet. A new Newsweek poll reports that more people have an unfavorable opinion of Hillary Clinton than favorable. Obama and McCain, meanwhile, both have favorable numbers above 50 percent and unfavorable ratings in the low 40s. Interestingly, both Democrats' favorability rankings have gone down considerably since March, but McCain's has stayed relatively level.

For a full list of our Deathwatches, click here. For a primer on Hillary's sinking ship, visit our first Deathwatch entry. Send your own prognostications to hillarydeathwatch@gmail.com.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Quora
Sept. 30 2014 9:32 AM Why Are Mint Condition Comic Books So Expensive?
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal. But… What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.