Obamamania has taken New Hampshire, polls indicate, and growing excitement among black voters probably means he will carry South Carolina. That leaves Hillary Clinton hoping for a firewall Feb. 5 from voters in California, New York, New Jersey and Arkansas, among other states voting that day. Or so it suggests here.

By the way; I’d urge readers back to that Bill Kristol column for a taste of how happy Republicans are at the prospect that Obama will best Clinton for the nomination. It is not, I assure you, because they plan to be voting for him. As it happens, the Washington Post today examined Obama’s promise to forge a bipartisan coalition. I don’t think he can without selling out core Democratic Party issues. And here a writer gets at the issue that has been troubling me — will personality alone, and not issues and competence, decide the Democratic nomination?

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UPDATE: The blogs sniff a Muskie moment as Hillary’s voice cracks in an appearance today. ABC has video.

BY THE WAY: A reader reminds us that Hillary had a wide lead at last count among the “super delegates” — or party officials — who’ll be casting ballots in the nomination process individually and not based on primary results.

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UPDATE II: The Arkansas Education Association has recommended Clinton in the Arkansas primary.

UPDATE III: George Will is an idiot. I know. You knew that.

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UPDATE IV: Huckabee now leads the Republican race nationally, Gallup says. Obama and Clinton are tied.