When the world explodes the political landscape often shifts. That’s exactly what’s playing out right now in Iowa.

puts Obama’s conference call this morning into context. They’re trying
desperately (there’s that word again) to get ahead of the negative polling cascading
out of Iowa.

Total: 30.0
Dec. 28: 29.0
Dece. 29: 31.2

Total: 29.0
Dec. 27.6
Dece. 30.3

Total: 22.0
Dec. 22.1
Dece. 22.8

Now some analysis.

First, these numbers are horrific news for Obama for several reasons. The biggest reason being
that many of Obama’s supporters are not only first time caucus goers, but they’re
young people. The process in Iowa is intimidating, so it will take a lot of
confidence to drive out the younger voters, which these numbers do not inspire.

Secondly, Edwards is rising on his quick reaction and comments on Benazir Bhutto’s
assassination, which he handled well, but also shrewdly in political terms,
because he got out and on it so that his conversation with Musharraf went wide. The press wasn’t paying attention to him so Edwards made a move that demanded they tune in. It was a conversation the traditional media simply could not ignore.

In addition, Obama’s inexperience in light of the cataclysmic unrest in Pakistan
is making people take a second look. As I’ve said for a long time, Edwards is
the anti Hillary. Interesting that the guys are now filing into the story, with
Markos and Duncan chiming in on Obama’s wingnut talking points, something that
he’s been using all season. Welcome aboard, my friends.

Clinton’s steady showing is instructive as well, because she continues to lead,
however narrowly. Obama is just not matching up to her performance in the long run.

There will be a final poll out of Iowa tonight freezing everything until after
the caucuses as far as polling goes, but the dynamic playing out since Bhutto’s
assassination is clear and will continue to unfold. People will remember Clinton’s steady performance and her very personal connection to Benazir Bhutto, as well as Edwards’ aggressive handling of reaching out to Musharraf, while Mr. Obama delivered stuttering defenses of his aide’s abominable Clinton killed Bhutto charge, not to mention his wooden and disconnected response to the murder itself.

Advantage right now goes to Edwards also because he and his wife Elizabeth are Iowa favorites. Clinton holds steady, rising slightly. Obama sliding.