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The week that Clinton came back

  • Story Highlights
  • Hillary Clinton has won the Pennsylvania primary, boosting her campaign
  • While she is still behind Barack Obama, his campaign has lost its luster
  • Clinton appeals more to ordinary, working-class Americans than Obama
  • Obama supporters accuse Clinton of negative and nasty campaigning
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By Jonathan Mann
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(CNN) -- Hillary is back. Until now, Hillary Clinton's campaign had one consistent quality -- it kept coming up short.

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Hillary Clinton has said that she has the best chance of beating John McCain in the White House race

As the Democratic primaries have moved from state to state, she's been short of victories (Barack Obama won 30 primaries and caucuses; she won 18); short of delegates (he has more than 1,700 of the 2,025 needed; she's more than a hundred behind); and short of money (he had more than $40 million on hand; she was roughly $1 million in debt).

The biggest question about her campaign was when it would finally succumb to being so second-place.

This week that changed. She won the Pennsylvania primary by 10 percentage points, a margin that convinced contributors to flood her Internet site with $10 million.

The win and the windfall don't change the race. She is still behind in every way that matters. But the race has changed anyway.

In the six-week build-up to the Pennsylvania primary, Obama's well-run campaign lost some of its luster.

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Americans learned that his former pastor gave angry anti-American speeches, that Obama was friends with a former terrorist, and that he seemed to think small-town voters "cling" to God and gun-ownership because they're bitter about the economy.

Obama supporters blame Clinton for negative and nasty campaigning, but she didn't pick his church, his friends or his words for him.

Clinton was always more appealing to ordinary, working-class Americans than Obama. While he based his campaign on the promise of 'hope' and 'change,' she offered a catalogue of policies and programs to address concrete concerns.

The economy was the number one issue in Pennsylvania, just as it is nationwide, and voters worried about it voted for her, by a clear margin.

But beyond the less affluent, less educated base she has attracted all through the campaign, race mattered more in Pennsylvania too. Nearly two-thirds of all whites cast their ballots for her.

Clinton has argued consistently that she should win the Democratic nomination because she'd be more likely to defeat the Republicans and win the White House.

If people nationwide think like the ones in Pennsylvania, she may be right. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Hillary ClintonDemocratic PartyBarack ObamaJohn McCainRepublican Party

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