It’s impossible to predict the full impact of the bitter primary campaign between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. But no one (save the blind party loyalists) think there will be no impact in the general election.
Hillary speaks tonight to the convention and for Obama’s sake she had better be more convincing than she was in June when she "conceded" to Sen. Obama, then immediately declined to release her delegates. Then, of course, there’s this angle: The best thing that can happen to Clinton in terms of her lifelong aspiration to be president is for the participants at the convention in Denver to continue to display lukewarm attention (did you see the folks last night sitting on their hands for most of the evening?) followed by 30% of Clinton’s supporters staying home in November or outright voting for Republican John McCain. Then, she can ride to her party’s defense in 2012 when McCain announced next week that he’s only going to run for one term.
But assuming that dark story-line is an exaggerated Republican dream, there is tangible evidence that the bitter primary has left McCain with plenty of running room to produce some pretty effective ads. Raising doubts about Obama’s ability to lead is as simple as using soundbites from his vice president selection (Sen. Joe Biden) and, of course, Clinton herself.
Here’s one of the more effective ones: