Democratic nomination becomes a war on many fronts

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The Independent US

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are now locked in a fierce struggle across wide swathes of America that will drain their campaigns of tens of millions of dollars, as the race for the White House becomes a war on many fronts.

Despite his narrow defeat on Tuesday, Mr Obama said the tight finish and huge numbers voting the Democratic ticket augured well for him in the coming weeks. Flush with victory, Mrs Clinton was in her New York home of Chappaqua yesterday conferring with advisers and preparing for a major huge fund-raising drive to help pay for a bloody fight with Mr Obama.

She can now expect to receive a rush of desperately needed fresh money on the strength of her New Hampshire victory. She will still be hampered in her fundraising efforts by one iron rule, which limits individual contributions in the primaries and general election to $4,600 (£2,350). Many Clinton donors have already contributed their limit and her challenge now is to persuade members of the public to open their wallets for her.

That is not the case with Mr Obama, who has raised money with small contributions of $5 and $10 a time, which has nonetheless equalled Mrs Clintons fundraising to date. They have both raised over $100 million, but Mr Obama is already returning to his donors over and over, with email requests for extra cash donations.

His narrow defeat could either energise his outsider campaign, by bringing independent and Republican voters to his side in the crucial primaries to come, or see his movement flame out altogether.Speaking on morning television yesterday Mr Obama declared himself upbeat and said the tight finish impressed him and said the high numbers of voters participating in the Democratic primary bodes well for the party in the November general election.

Promising to "fight for every single vote everywhere we go," he said that 'right now we're in a very close contest that'll probably go all the way through February fifth (when 22 states vote), as the voters lift the hood and kick the tires and make an assessment who's going to really fight for them and their families."

Mrs. Clinton appeared on NBC's Today and suggested that voters should now put Mr Obama's positions under to the microscope. Television commentators are already declaring the looming Democratic battle an Ali-Frazier matchup.

He received some good news yesterday when Unite Here, a union representing half a million hotel and restaurant workers announced it was endorsing him, the first time a trade Union has done so. He will receive and immediate boost from the decision of the union's Las Vegas branch to deliver its 60,000 votes for him in the Nevada caucus on 19 January.

Unite Here has locked horns with the Clinton campaign because her pollster and chief strategist, Mark Penn, heads up the public relations Burson Marsteller which represents an industrial laundry company that is fiercely anti union.

The Obama campaign spin is that it has the organisation and the funds for a fight. Independent voters are expected to be allowed to participate in 15 of the 22 Democratic contests taking place on 5 February.