Democratic strategists say presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards need to begin drawing sharper distinctions between themselves and front-runner Hillary Clinton, or the Democratic race will slip away from them permanently.
"It's incumbent on Edwards and Obama to take it to her," says a party insider who hasn't signed up with any candidate but has advised several Democrats in past campaigns. "She has been adept at keeping the others off balance and taking it to them."
Clinton almost always stays on course and talks about what she wants, without being drawn into arguments that are to her disadvantage.
"The other candidates have to figure out a way to change the basic dynamic of this race, which is that Clinton seems to be the inevitable nominee," the insider says, "and find a way to drive a wedge between her and the Democratic Party, and they haven't done that."
Clinton has a strong lead nationally in the Democratic race and is doing well enough in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire that she could sweep the table early on, then move into the big multiprimary day of February 5 with unstoppable momentum.
By Kenneth T. Walsh