In the kickoff week of full-time general election coverage, a collection of policy issues—from the war to gas prices—made up the leading media campaign narrative. But the press also lavished considerable attention on one high-profile controversy and on some of the ill will left over from the Democratic primary battle.
In the last official week of the long and grueling Democratic nomination battle, Barack Obama captured his party’s top prize. But it was Hillary Clinton—by providing most of the week’s suspense and drama—who proved she could still dominate the story line in defeat.
The two Democratic contenders went at it last week, battling over Barack Obama’s “bitter” remarks at a California fundraiser and over the ABC debate that some said had too much “gotcha.” Trailing in the race for attention, John McCain saw the media examine everything from his economic policy to his temper last week.
The key media narrative last week involved growing pressure on Hillary Clinton to withdraw from the primary fight. Meanwhile, Barack Obama tried his hand at hands-on campaigning while John McCain hoped to grab the media’s attention with a tour of some old stomping grounds.
With wins in Ohio and Texas, Hillary Clinton was the top campaign newsmaker last week. The media’s first verdict was that her aggressive attacks succeeded in stopping Barack Obama’s momentum. Their next question was whether Obama was capable of responding in kind.
Barack Obama generated more campaign coverage than Hillary Clinton in a week in which Democrats completely dominated the media narrative. But Clinton’s complaints about a journalistic tilt toward her opponent seemed to strike a responsive chord.
Obama’s big win in Wisconsin shaped the Democrats’ media narrative last week and had some pundits wondering whether Clinton was contemplating her own defeat. And why a New York Times expose about the presumptive GOP nominee may prove to be manna for McCain.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton dominated coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign last week, but in very different ways. While Obama got a big bounce from primary wins, the Clinton campaign was besieged by bad news. Meanwhile, John McCain inched closer to inevitability.