Barack Obama Makes It Official
Senator Barack Obama made it official that he is a candidate for president today, in the same Illinois location that Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech condemning slavery, and that the U.S. cannot have two nations, one free, one enslaved.
Barack Obama is seen as pragmatic liberal. He fills an important slot for Democratic voters looking for a fresh face and an exciting alternative to Hillary Clinton. But this former law professor and Illinois state legislator still faces a serious uphill climb against the big money machine that the Clinton's are able to command. Hillary has solid support from many trial lawyer law firms, some unions, and among some elite big purse donars. Whether Barack Obama can surpass this remains a huge question.
Some of the latest polling figures from organizations such as Rasmussen suggest that Rudolph Giuliani remains the most popular of all candidates running for president with the highest favorability ratings. Only John Edwards comes eithin two points of Giuliani in one poll, as other Democratic hopefuls trail Giuliani. But Obama and Clinton do lead some other Republican candidates such as Mitt Romney. John McCain tends to losing strength, both to potential Democratic nominess as well as to Rudolph Giuliani.
Regardless of the final outcome of 2008, several firsts will be estasblished: Hillary Clinton will be the first woman candidate with a good chance of being elected president. Barack Obama will likely be the strongest African-American presidential candidate ever, probably well surpassing both the number of votes and delegates of Jesse Jackson in his failed 1988 strong bid to win the Democratic nomination. John McCain will likely be the oldest major candidate for president ever to have a strong chance of winning the Republican nomination. Rudolph Giuliani will be the first major Italian American candidate to have a strong chance of winning both the Republican nomination and the presidency. Mitt Romney may become the strongest Mormon faith candidate since Morris Udall to run for president, possiby evening surpassing his total votes or delegates. Romney is a Republican, while Udall was a Democrat.
Barack Obama trails in all national polls, and will have a very diificult time upending Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Every move of her campaign seems both careful and well choregraphed. Whether Barack Obama can match Hillary Clinton on a daily basis to seem to be a candidate of equal parity will certainly be a daily challenge. In the end, and at this point, it would appear that both Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani stand the best chance of winning their respective party nominations, with Giuliani the most likely to be elected president at this point in time.
The challenge for Barack Obama is for more persons to learn about him, and to like him. For Hillary Clinton, she needs to raise her positives with voters. For Rudolph Giuliani, the challenge is to maintain his extremely high likabilty rating with voters. For John McCain the challenge is not to lose any more ground with voters. For Mitt Romney, the challenge is to improve his likability rating, as well as cement his standing amomg the conservative block of voters in the Republican Party. But with past contradictory stands on both Gay marriage and abortion, his chances may have long since passed.
Hillary Clinton and Rudolph Giuliani really remain the two candidates to catch.