GOP Prefers to Face Obama Rather Than Clinton

Obama, being somewhat inexperienced, would be easier to beat.

+ More

Republican officials, pollsters, and associates of John McCain said this week in several interviews that they believe the likely Republican nominee would have an easier time against Barack Obama than against the surging Hillary Clinton. "We want him, not her. He's struggling and his campaign is going downhill," said a key GOP adviser to the House and Senate. "We know what she's all about. She won't give up, and that makes her harder to beat."

The sense inside many GOP camps has long been that Obama, being somewhat inexperienced, would be easier to beat than Clinton and her campaign machine. But Obama's fumbling recently with the comments from his former pastor, his poor debate performances, and what one Republican pollster called his "lack of energy and appearances" on the campaign trail now make him an even more attractive foe for McCain.

Republicans are also taking notice of Clinton's resurgence, her improving fundraising, and her ability to tailor her message and even body language to her crowd. "We should have caught on when she teared up in New Hampshire and did that shot and beer in Pennsylvania," said a Republican official.

Apparently, now they have and are moving to shift the GOP guns toward Clinton, though the expectations still remain that Obama will pull off his upset victory based on superdelegates.

—Paul Bedard