Here come all the food and cooking clichés for Hillary Clinton’s loss in the North Carolina and possibly Indiana primaries: “STICK A FORK IN HER — SHE’S DONE” she’s “TOAST!” The editors of the Post must have been dancing a jig last night as the numbers rolled in: Clinton lost North Carolina with 42 percent of the vote to Barack Obama’s 56 percent. As the tabloids went to press, Indiana was still too close to call. (Clinton eventually eked out a 2-point win over Obama, CNN reports.) The votes from the heavily African-American Lake County had yet to be fully counted, and most experts said the county would go for Obama.
So now, we get the analysis of what went wrong with the Clinton campaign. The coverage is fairly similar to that of when Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid went south: the implications of hubris, the subtle way that pictures of the candidate are no longer prominent inside the pages of the paper. (In fact, the Daily News doesn’t even bother to put a picture of Hillary on the front page. Uma Thurman is the woman on page one today.) We see smiling photos of Barack and Michelle Obama in the pages of the Post; they look like the photos of a nominee. The News does put two photos of Clinton inside, but one is a dorky, cheery photo of her at her “victory” speech in Indiana, and another is above a headline that vows to get to the “Ugly truth behind Hil’s persistence.”
Barring any sort of miracle, Clinton coverage should begin to wind down. The final push should be when (or if) she finally admits defeat and drops out of the race. We’ll then get the hand-wringing about “what to do with the party” and the list of Hillary’s greatest sins in the campaign. Look for comparisons with Giuliani on strategy: he put all his eggs in Florida’s basket, while Hillary didn’t expect this race to go on beyond Super Tuesday. And now Obama will be the main focus, as he dukes it out with McCain and Clinton looks like that out-of-touch old bat who thinks she’s still in the race.