Talk about putting lipstick on a pig, Sen. Barack Obama is begging former rival Sen. Hillary Clinton and other high-profile female surrogates, such as AZ Gov. Janet Napolitano and KS Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to hit the campaign trail in an effort to temper the fury of women voters who feel scorned when Clinton did not win a spot on the Dem presidential ticket, even after getting 18 million votes during the primary season. But The New York Times reports that Clinton’s peeps are quietly telling the Obama campaign “not to overestimate the impact” she could have” and point out that she has “other commitments this fall, like campaigning and raising money for Senate candidates.”

One reason Clinton may not have the impact Obama needs on women voters swinging GOP veep nominee AK Gov. Sarah Palin’s way is that she will not be getting into any “cat fights, writes Howard Wolfson, who served as a Clinton campaign strategist and spokesperson. In his new blog hosted by The New Republic, The Flack, he writes:

For whatever unfortunate reasons, editors and news executives are convinced that two women fighting sells magazines and attracts eyeballs. You can imagine the thinking … if Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston and Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera sell copies, what could be better than Hillary Clinton vs. Sarah Palin?

Don’t hold your breath. It’s not going to happen. …

“Clinton-Palin might drive ratings and sell magazines, but it wouldn’t be good for the Democratic party, or the cause of women’s rights. Some might enjoy the spectacle, but don’t expect Hillary Clinton to play along. Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime resisting quick and easy stereotypes, and she’s not about to stop now.”

For her part, in her first post-convention foray, Clinton reprised her slogan “No way, no how, no McCain – no Palin!,” but otherwise avoided getting into a mud wrestling match with Palin, even after someone in the crowd tried to egg her on. She demurred: “I don’t think that’s what this election is about. Anybody who believes that the Republicans, whoever they are, can fix the mess they created probably believes that the iceberg could have saved the Titanic.”

Meanwhile, though Obama’s advisers are reassuring their boss that the excitement engendered by Palin’s nomination will fizzle – helped along by any dirt that armies of oppo researchers can dig up in AK – McCain-Palin rallies are drawing crowds of 10,000 or more. 

Time will tell if this trend holds up, but John McCain also got a bigger bounce after the GOP convention than Obama got after the Dem convention, and has now overtaken him in several polls, chiefly because of gains among – wait for it – white women. Before the two back-to-back party conventions, Obama had an 8-point lead with this voting bloc, but according to the results of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, the gap is now 12 points – in McCain’s favor. That’s a 20-point shift to McCain.

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog, chosen an Official Honoree in the Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th Annual Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker, Swampland (Time magazine) and The Caucus (The New York Times).

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