Bloggers are ready for the Indiana and North Carolina results and wondering what Hezbollah is up to.
Are we there yet? Voters in Indiana and North Carolina headed to the polls Tuesday, and the Drudge Report released a red-letter item saying that Hillary Clinton campaign staffers think she will lose North Carolina by 15 points. Howard Wolfson, Clinton's campaign manager, "categorically" denied the scoop, claiming no one from his team talked to Drudge and that according to an internal poll, Clinton is ahead 11 points in North Carolina.
The Moderate Voice sees clever Clintonian scheming: "If the Clinton folks say they're behind by 15 and Obama wins by 5 points the Clinton camp declares it a victory for them. If he wins by 3 points they can say there were some reports saying they were behind by 15 points and it's a huge win. (Of course if Obama LOSES North Carolina the nearly unanimous belief is that he is in political hot water)." AJStrata at the Strata-Sphere also wonders whether the Clinton camp is trying to lower expectations, predicting: "I think Hillary does well in NC [to] bring that state to a near tie—which where the democrat primary has been all season. After today—there will still be no clear winner."
Speaking of predictions: North Carolinian Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee thinks Drudge is "a bit off the mark, but I think that it is still probably more accurate than those who are projecting a close race. There is no severe weather projected to dam. pen turnout, and enthusiasm for Obama is high in major population centers of the state. … Barack Obama will defeat Hillary Clinton here in North Carolina today handily, perhaps by 9 points, more or less." Isaac Chotiner at the New Republic's Plank also predicts an Obama victory in North Carolina by six to 10 points and gives Clinton a narrow win in Indiana: "Remember, the night before Pennsylvania, many in the media were saying that a nine point Clinton win would not be so bad for Obama. Of course when the exit polls showed an even race at 5pm, all the pundits began to write Clinton off, only to later argue that Obama had disappointed."
Jim Geraghty at National Review Online's Campaign Spot cites a late poll in North Carolina that puts Obama ahead 50 percent to 45 percent: "With results like this, Obama will tout a respectable, but not great result that interrupts his rough patch; Hillary will note that he lost his neighboring state and still has problems with the same demographics he did in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. With West Virginia and Kentucky looming, Obama will have escaped disaster, but still be in for some rough sailing ahead."
Finally, Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom wonders how media coverage will affect the campaigns: "CNN's decision to go 'Wright-free' yesterday, for example, might suggest that status quo results would push them even further to the Obama-friendly interpretation of the outcome. … Discussions of topics like whether Obama did better with working-class white voters in IN or NC than he did in PA might be less Obama-friendly, depending on how those numbers come out."
Read more primary predictions.
Hezbollah training Iraqis: U.S. intelligence suggests that Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah is training Iraqi militants in Iran, prompting calls from former administration officials like John Bolton for the U.S. to bomb these training camps.
"We have multiple detainees who state Lebanese Hezbollah are providing training to Iraqis in Iranian (Qods force) training camps near Tehran," Col. Donald Bacon, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, told Reuters.
Conservative Allahpundit writes at Hot Air: "Any reason to believe this coordination is going on specifically in training camps outsider Tehran, though? Oddly enough, yeah … the same Iranian dissident who exposed the mullahs' enrichment facility at Natanz in 2002 offered names, maps, and satellite photos of what he claimed were the training facilities. A few weeks later, Gen. Caldwell also accused Iran of training militias."
Middle Eastern-focused Outsider on the Inside reminds readers: "The training of foreign fighters by Hezballah only underscores the point that the battle for Lebanese sovereignty is a primary issue in dealing with the creeping Iranian hegemony in the region. This issue should not be perceived as secondary to Iran's nuclear development or their standoff with the West, but is in fact critical to the resolution of these issues."
Jules Crittenden thinks it's "great news": "It means when they whack that site, they'll be taking out a lot of Hezbollah scum along with the al-Quds scum and the future Shiite death squads of Iraq scum." And Richard at Freedom's Zone writes: "The U.S can't allow Iran to kill American troops indefinitely, be it by proxy or otherwise. … I wouldn't be surprised to see targeted attacks on selected sites in Iran—when the time is 'ripe'—which could be sooner than we think." While Rational International says: "Arms leaking over the border is one thing. I can legitimately imagine that Tehran could not completely control that even if it wanted to. I have a tough time believing, though, that Hezbollah could be operating multiple training camps within Iran without the consent, if not the direction, of the Iranian central government."
Think Progress' Spencer Ackerman thinks it's perfectly logical for Iran to be underwriting Hezbollah: "Not only have we invaded and occupied two of their neighbors, we're involved in a worldwide effort to stop them from achieving any form of nuclear technology, we step up patrols in the Persian Gulf and we even build military bases a stone's throw from their border. In the hands of the dolts and warmongers who both staff this administration and have their designs on the next one, the U.S.-Iran War is a Gulf Of Tonkin incident just waiting to happen."
Read more about Hezbollah training Iraqis.