Obama, Edwards and the Disappearing Hillary

If we didn't realize it before, now we know that Barack Obama is a magician. Or at least, he knows how to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

The rabbit, of course, is John Edwards. Although I'm sure he won't appreciate the imagery, Edwards chose Wednesday as the day he hippity-hopped to Obama's side in Michigan to deliver his long-awaited endorsement.

What a coincidence! The announcement was perfectly timed to steal the headlines and newscasts away from Hillary Clinton and the embarrassment she caused Obama by clobbering him the day before in West Virginia.

Suddenly, in the fickle news world, "Almost Heaven" became almost nothing. The reaction to Clinton’s sentimental media victory lap was "Not so fast, Hillary."

It illustrates an important point: Barack Obama's campaign has outmaneuvered the Clinton operation at every turn. Frankly, it hasn't been all that difficult. All his strategists have usually had to do is stand back and watch hers trip over their own feet as they fought among themselves.

In those rare moments when they've had to initiate action, they turn to something they've been keeping in reserve. In this case it was someONE, that someone, John Edwards.

If you think Edwards just HAPPENED to decide Tuesday night he was going for Obama, I've got some land in West Virginia to sell you.

Now comes the inevitable question: Will Edwards be Obama's vice presidential pick? I doubt it. For starters, it's a been there, done that type of situation. Besides, chances are he would want some power in a new administration to push his priorities and, oh yeah, keep his profile high and compete with Hillary to be the heir apparent.

So, the interminable Democratic campaign lurches to Kentucky and Oregon, and then probably to a conclusion within a few weeks.

Right now, though, that woman you see in the yellow pantsuit, muttering under her breath, might well be Hillary Clinton.

As for Barack Obama, he needs to save up a lot more than just rabbits. Republican attacks dogs are preparing to chew up his hat ... and him.