Dec. 10 (Bloomberg) -- To appreciate Hillary Clinton's fundamental political problem, consider the 11 Democrats from Philadelphia who gathered last week to discuss the U.S. presidential race, almost all of whom would vote for her in a general election.Hillary certainly qualifies as a divisive figure. The name Clinton is itself enough to drive right wingers into an irrational rage. If you thought Kerry had swift boaters just wait and see how many of them will crawl out from under rocks if Hillary gets the nomination. I still see Obama as an empty suite who has a tendency to self destruct. So is there a dark horse who will emerge from a brokered Democratic convention and who might that be?
The focus group was moderated by an expert on such forums, Democratic pollster Peter Hart. The participants were informed and enthusiastic about their party's prospects, had no interest in the Republicans or third-party candidates, and were about equally balanced between front-runners Clinton and Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.
When Hart pushed the group during a two-hour conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates, a different picture emerged.
Obama, they worried, can't win the nomination; voters aren't ready for an African-American president (a point expressed most directly by the two black women participants), and he may not be sufficiently experienced.
A couple of victories in Iowa and New Hampshire would cure most of those problems.
The concerns about Clinton, 60, a New York senator, are that she is devious, calculating and, fairly or not, a divisive figure in American politics.
Those are a lot tougher to overcome.
Biden Plans Television Ads in Iowa
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden plans to air television ads in Iowa on Wednesday, touting his plan to end the Iraq war and his history of overcoming personal tragedy.Now there is a lot not to like about Joe Biden like his ties to the very crooked credit card industry. But he's looking more attractive all the time. Neither Hillary or Obama are what I would consider progressive or likely to look out for the average American. I don't see Biden as being any worse or any better but he doesn't have the baggage of Clinton and a lot more experience than Obama.
With the pair of ads, which will cost more than $1 million to run, Biden will seek to bolster his candidacy in the weeks before Iowa's Jan. 3 caucuses.
The Delaware Democrat, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is running fifth among Democrats, behind Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and Bill Richardson, according to a recent Des Moines Register poll.
One of the ads describes Biden's five-point plan to foster political reconciliation in Iraq, including increased reconstruction aid and regional diplomacy that he says would allow U.S. troops to come home. The ad also will note Biden's "ability to build a consensus around his exit strategy" by co-sponsoring a Senate resolution that calls for Baghdad to limit the power of its federal government and give more control to Iraq's ethnically divided regions, said spokesman Larry Rasky.
A second ad will focus on Biden's life experiences and "how that prepares a candidate for the challenges that the country is facing," Rasky said. They include the loss in an auto accident of Biden's wife and infant daughter when he was a young senator, and his later struggle to recover from two near-fatal brain aneurysms.