PEJ Campaign Coverage Index: March 31 - April 6, 2008, Clinton Punches, Obama Bowls, and McCain Reminisces

  • April 08, 2008

Barack Obama attracted the most coverage of any presidential hopeful last week, and John McCain's biographical tour helped him climb back into the headlines. But it was Hillary Clinton who generated the clearest story line in the media last week in advance of the April 22 Pennsylvania primary.

The narrative was the debate over whether it might be time for Clinton to throw in the towel in the nomination fight. It was the single biggest campaign story line, accounting for 7% of all the campaign stories last week, and it was big enough that Clinton herself fought back by embracing one of Philly's fictional favorites. The indomitable Rocky Balboa not only withstood the hardest blows of Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang, he managed to battle his way through five sequels to the 1976 Oscar-winning film.

“Let me tell you something, when it comes to finishing a fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common,” said Clinton. “I never quit.”

Clinton wasn't the No. 1 campaign newsmaker last week. Overall, she was a significant or dominant factor in 55% of the campaign stories studied last week in PEJ's Campaign Coverage Index, narrowly trailing Obama, at 56%. But much of that news for the former First Lady wasn't good. Among the story topics that got picked up, March tallies showed Obama outraising her $40 million to $20 million. He also gained some key endorsements, including that of 9/11 Commission vice-chairman Lee Hamilton and ex-President Jimmy Carter, who offered (very) thinly veiled support. And Obama continued to hold a lead over Clinton in national polling while cutting into her advantage in Pennsylvania.

Read the full report Clinton Punches, Obama Bowls, and McCain Reminisces on the Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.