It's CW that Hillary Clinton "would rather ... come in fourth"** in Iowa if John Edwards finishes first than come in a close second to Barack Obama. (Or maybe even than coming in a close first to Obama.) For Hillary, it's all about getting rid of Obama. But what about for Obama? Which of these two scenarios would he prefer?
It's close, no? Getting rid of Edwards--making it a Hillary vs. Obama race--seems very important to Obama. If he comes in a competitive second to Hillary, on the other hand, will the press really declare that Hillary's delivered a "knockout punch" and go home? I doubt it. They'll want to set up an epic two-person battle. ...
Update: Edsall says "the least attractive outcome for Obama would be to see Hillary win Iowa on January 3." Really? Even if Edwards finished third (something that admittedly looks unlikely as of this posting on 12/31)? ...
**Chris Matthews, 12/26 ... 4:40 P.M.
Tariq Ali on Benazir Bhutto: Written before her death. Quite nasty. I don't trust him.** For all I know he may now regret writing it. But there is a lot here to chew on, especially the intrigues surrounding her brother Murtaza. Compare with John Burns' NYT obituary. ...
Update: Here's a post-assassination piece by Ali.