Hype Watch

Just a thought as we’re waiting for Obama to deliver his much-anticipatedspeech on race.

NBC’s First Read says that this speech is make-or-break for Obama: “If Obama can’t hit a homerun onthis speech today, then he won’t be president.” Sorry, what?? It’s one thing to say this will be a big speech. It’sanother to say his candidacy hinges on it. He has an insurmountable pledgeddelegate lead, and the odds of Clintonovertaking him with superdelegates are slipping .Plus, Obama stillbeats McCain in head-to-head match-ups. The idea that Obama could suddenly sabotagehis own candidacy with a single speech like this neglects the fact that he’s,er, winning.

First Read also concludes that the Wright controversy has”hurt Obama – so far.” The evidence: a new poll shows Clinton beating McCain by more points (five)than Obama does (two). Before the Wright flap dominated news cycles, Obama hada wider lead over McCain than Clintondid. But to chalk that switch up to Wright alone seems questionable, especiallysince we’re talking about a wide marginof error :

Gallupsurveyed 685 “likely” voters across the nation from Friday throughSunday. It says the margin of error on each result is +/- 4 percentage points.That means neither Clinton nor Obama’s lead in the new poll is “outside”that margin. Clinton’ssupport could be as low as 47% (because 51-4=47) and McCain’s could be as highas 50% (because 46+4=50).

Something to keep in mind during post-speech analysis, too.