October 27, 2007

Is The Ship Sinking?

Barack Obama started strongly in his half-draft campaign for the presidency. In the first two quarters, he out-raised and out-organized Hillary Clinton despite the Clinton machine's readiness for her campaign, turning an expected coronation into a real contest. However, Obama's numbers have begun to falter in polls and fundraising, and now a member of his national committee has switched sides:

A longtime Democratic fundraiser has abandoned Barack Obama's campaign to help rival Hillary Rodham Clinton win the party's presidential nomination.

Bob Farmer, who was a top fundraiser for several past Democratic presidential candidates, had served on Obama's national finance committee.

Farmer did not respond to a request for comment after a message was left at his home in Bal Harbour, Fla. But Kirk Wagar, Obama's Florida finance chair, said Farmer let him know he was switching sides without saying why.

The Obama campaign noted that Farmer had never raised any funds for the candidate to mitigate his switch, but that misrepresents Farmer's impact. Farmer served as an idea man, a generator of fundraising strategy. His presence also gave the Obama team more credibility and heft.

His departure strips it of both, to a larger degree than his addition. The timing suggests that Farmer concluded that Obama has no possibility of beating Clinton, and he wants to position himself with a winner. His exit will undoubtedly force others to evaluate their position in the campaign and ask themselves what they plan on doing after March 2008. It also confirms what many have said all along -- that Hillary has the nomination sewn up, barring any unexpected catastrophes.

Farmer made the first jump off the ship. We can expect more to follow.


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