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Sweet Oct. 30 Dem debate extra 2. Will Obama come out swinging?

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PHILADELPHIA—One hour before the Democrats debate at Drexel University.

I just chatted briefly with Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for frontrunner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). What to expect?

“Sen. Obama seemed to suggest he’ll come out swinging,” Wolfson said.

This afternoon I talked to David Bonior, who is the campaign manager for White House hopeful former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and I asked him how strong Edwards will be at the debate.

The storyline in the runup to the debate has been dominated by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) who created the latest narrative. Why is not entirely clear.

Obama has been promising to be aggressive in questioning the credibility of frontrunner Clinton without kneecapping her.

The debate will demonstrate whether Obama can deliver on his self-imposed assignment—and can he do it in a way that will erode the ability of the Clinton team claim that Obama has abandoned his “politics of hope.”

Edwards, unlike Obama, is direct and less subtle.

At the debate Edwards “will be as strong as he needs to be,” said Bonior. Edwards has been “pretty aggressive” already.

In an interview this morning on NBC’s “Today Show,” Obama chief strategist David Axelrod said the “race starts in Iowa.” The three frontrunners are in a deadlock in the first caucus state.

And this brings up an overlooked point Edwards made this morning in an interview on the CBS “Early Show”—that Obama’s lead in Iowa has been built on millions of dollars of ads and Edwards has yet run one.

“Well, if you look at what's happened in Iowa, Senator Obama's spent $4 (million) or $5 million on television. Senator Clinton's spent several million. I haven't run a single television ad yet. And we've still got a couple of months. I mean, I think when it started to move last time was in about the last three weeks. And I think that you're going to see movement in the last two or three weeks this time,” Edwards said.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 30, 2007 7:24 PM.

Sweet Oct. 30 Dem debate extra 1: Clinton's Penn memo on politics of hope. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet Oct. 30 debate extra 3. Howard Dean, four years later. is the next entry in this blog.

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