From Clinton spokesman Mark Daley: “Our definition of success [in Iowa] doesn’t necessarily mean coming in first. As long as we have a strong showing on caucus night. We’re running against a guy from a neighboring state who shares media markets with the state.”
This statement comes after the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll showing Obama – 30%, Clinton – 26%. Even though this is the first time a poll has shown Obama in the lead in the Hawkeye State for months, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. 1) As with most polls in the tight Iowa race, the lead is within the margin of error. 2) The last poll to show Obama in the lead? Also conducted by Washington Post/ABC News back in June, a time when other polling organizations showed either Clinton or Edwards leading.
At first glance, Daley’s statement seems out of the blue. Is Clinton, the candidate surrounded by an aura of inevitability, saying a second-place finish in Iowa is acceptable? It appears as if Daley’s remarks are a gross overreaction to a single poll. But perhaps there’s more to this trend of a narrowing race, possibly surfacing in the campaign’s internal polling. Perhaps Clinton’s new “Trust” ad is an attempt to beat back the growing chorus of dishonesty her Democratic foes are pounding home. Whatever lies behind it, the Clinton campaign lowering expectations in Iowa indicates a real race to the finish in the next month.