In North Carolina, a state that until recently was "Wrightly" called a slam-dunk for Obama ... oops, is "slam dunk" and "Obama" in one sentence racist? ... Obama's lead has slipped by 10 points in just three weeks, according to RCP's average, narrowing to just 7 points -- and a just released poll has Clinton ahead there. A Raleigh TV station found Obama ahead by 7, but with 9 percent undecided.
As we see this incredible collapse, it's important to remember two things: First, he's still got a high teflon rating with many voters who have listened to his well crafted explanations and said "good enough."
But second, and more important to the country in the long run, the slip isn't just about Wright; it's about something much more difficult to control and recover from: sincerity and believability.
Obama presented himself as a new kind of politician -- brighter, more honest, steeped in a racial stew that ensured a fresh perspective, above the smarminess of politics. Now he's not brighter because if he's who he says he is, he's not bright enough to pick good friends. Or he's not more honest, because if he is bright enough to pick friends that are like-minded, he hasn't been honest presenting himself to the voters. And we now know that what he's been steeping in racially is a vile, tired, hateful view of America, and we wonder, as intelligence reports show how active Iran is in killing our soldiers in Iraq, if we want a president with the fresh perspective of talking to any tyrannical terror regime, anywhere.
All he's got left is staying above the smarminess of politics. Dealt his hand, nearly all politicians would have attacked, but he's held back, to his detriment in the Wright matter. That's nice for his supporters, but for the rest of us, looking forward to the general election, it really doesn't move the needle much, especially since McCain promises to be a nice campaigner too.