Obamania, but no victory declaration imminent

As many as 75,000 attend an Obama rally, but the campaign is pulling back from its plans to mark a potential milestone in the race.

By Alex Koppelman
May 19, 2008 6:23PM (UTC)
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The news that has most of the political sites buzzing today is the size of the crowd at a recent rally for Barack Obama. Estimates for the crowd at an event in Portland, Ore., range as high as 75,000. (Other reports suggest that it was 65,000, with 10,000 to 15,000 more forced to remain outside.)

These are, clearly, general-election-size crowds; bigger, even. And the Obama campaign is obviously gearing up for the general election, operating under -- and trying to create -- the presumption that Obama has the nomination all but locked up. But contrary to its previous plans, the campaign will apparently not be declaring victory of a sort on Tuesday night.


After the primaries in Kentucky and Oregon on Tuesday, the Obama campaign expects it will have captured a majority of pledged delegates. With that in hand, it had planned to make a major declaration -- a victory declaration, at least of a sort. But, the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown reports, the campaign has now thought better of that. Brown says there's concern "about appearing presumptuous or antagonistic towards Hillary Rodham Clinton" and so Obama will "tiptoe right up to the line, without explicitly asserting the race is over." This, Brown says, "is a revealing measure of the sensitivity surrounding overtures that appear to disrespect Clinton and her supporters."

She adds: "It's also a reflection of the Obama campaign’s supreme confidence in the delegate math at this juncture -- the campaign now appears secure enough in its commanding position that it no longer feels compelled to declare victory in an attempt to marginalize Clinton."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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