On Meet the Press yesterday, Chuck Todd called Barack Obama’s debate performances “cautious… He’s trying not to lose.” I’m inclined to concur. He’s running a good enough campaign to win a strong second, but so far, we’ve seen little to suggest that the candidate or the campaign staff around him have the guts, instincts, and appetite for risk that will be needed to overtake a strong, cruising Hillary campaign.
But maybe that’s changing. The news that Obama won this quarter pretty handily ($10 million more in primary funds!) will obviously be a bit of adrenalin for a campaign that had plateaued for a few months, but what really impressed me was this little comment tucked in the middle of the Washington Post’s coverage:
“One of our opponents is also the quasi-incumbent in the race, who in our belief will and should lead just about every national poll from now until the Iowa caucuses. Expect nothing different and attach no significance to it,” campaign manager David Plouffe wrote.
While the purpose of that comment is do downplay expectations of Obama’s performance in upcoming polls, in one hyphenated word — “quasi-incumbent” — Plouffe articulates the case for Obama and against Hillary to Democratic primary voters: Hillary might represent some change from this administration, but not enough.