The Trend for Tuesday

Hillary is still trending up in North Carolina, as Barack's dramatic drop of support there continues. Expected to win by 15 points or so in late April, his lead now is down to 7 points in a cumulative assessment of the many polls by Real Clear Politics. He leads by 8 with 8% undecided in the latest CNN poll. The undecideds tend to break Hillary's way. In a state where 40% of Democrats are black, anything less than a solid win for Obama could represent a tipping point, as he has been getting close to 90% of the black vote.

The Zogby poll, released yesterday, shows Barack with a 9% lead in North Carolina, but a point ahead in Indiana with a huge 15% undecided. The Real Clear number crunch shows Hillary still leading at slightly under 8% in Indiana.

The most damning poll of all, as usual, has to do with underlying issues. Consider this from Rasmussen:
...just 30% of the nation’s Likely Voters believe Barack Obama denounced his former Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, because he was outraged. Most—58%--say he denounced the Pastor for political convenience.
This shift in perception of Barack from Messiah to Politician is the foundational change that has taken place, allowing Hillary to fight him while they're both standing in the same ring for the first time. That's why her gas tax proposal has some resonance - "she may be pandering, but that's what politicians do. Obama lied about Wright. At least she's going to put some money in my pocket."

Meanwhile, Barack was on for a full hour of Russert this morning, looking all the more disingenuous on Wright. Asked from a number of directions why Wright was appalling this week but "like family" five weeks ago when he was saying the same things, Barack essentially said he'd ignored the evidence and given him the benefit of the doubt out of naive loyalty.

But there was no basis to claim naivite, Russert pointed out, as Barack had disinvited the preacher from his February 2007 campaign announcement when he learned of Wright's comments about America being a country committed to white superiority and black inferiority.

Barack dodged the question by saying his loyalty was to his church. If that were the case, he wouldn't have felt the need to go easy on Wright in March.

Responding to Russert, Obama acknowledged that he later apologized to Wright for blocking his public involvement with that event.

Obama agreed that it is fair game for people to question his judgment in having such a long relationship with Wright, but said it should be considered along with everything else he has done over the last two decades. "This is one element of a much larger track record," he said.

And that track record includes William Ayers, Tony Rezko and a wife whose never been proud to be an American.

As one reader asked in a letter to the editor in the Boston Globe today:
If Obama has trouble handling the petty demagoguery of Wright, who just has a big mouth, how will he handle the truly dangerous demagoguery of tyrants such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...
I understand how for some voters the conversation on Wright feels now like its a spinning mush of sameness. But because Barack's arguments are circular ones, they defy credulity, causing a need to go deeper. Its important to get him on the record with his white lies to help drive home the point that hope without experience, hope without a track record, and hope without a proven ability to get the job done is a hopeless way to choose a leader.

Its going to be quite a fall if Barack hangs on to get the nomination.