Clinton Jumps the Gun—Correctly

The Clinton campaign is shameless in its gloating. Staffers just sent out another “surrogate talking points” memo that presumes Clinton has won Massachusetts, even though no major news outlet has called the race for her—calling it “one of the biggest surprises of the night.” They did the same thing with Tennesee, earlier.

While we’d be happy to take the Clinton camp down for their smugness, it’s justified. With 12 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton has a wider lead over Obama than Romney has over McCain in the state. ( Exit polls suggested a close Democratic race, so the networks haven’t projected.) Clinton tops Obama by nearly 20 points in a state where both senators and the governor endorsed Obama.

Considering we saw that the Kennedy endorsement gave Obama some bounce in Georgia, it would seem especially confusing that the same didn’t apply in Massachusetts. That means Massachusetts residents gave Obama a second look and still didn’t like what they saw. Plus, nobody can say race or age is a factor—the state’s governor is a popular young black man.

This, needless to say, is pretty awful news for Obama. Coupled with surprisingly deep deficits in Missouri and New Jersey, it’s shaping up to be a bad start of the evening for Barack. Now his hope turns toward the caucus states, where he’s expected to dominate Clinton.