Obama seems in danger of repeating the Al Gore mistake of 2000 when he refused to involve the Clintons in his race, and lost narrowly in states such as Arkansas he would almost certainly have won if Bill Clinton campaigned for him.
Why Obama did not swallow his pride and pick Clinton, who would no doubt have ensured him victory, is just one mystery of a puzzling election season when surprises such as the Palin pick transform the race.
The extraordinary turnaround in polling after the Republican convention last week has caught everyone by surprise.
As the Los Angeles Times noted when weighing the latest polls, "The most surprising results - and surely the most disturbing for the freshman Illinois senator's camp - are the immense gains McCain has made among white women following the Republican National Convention and the well-received prime-time speech by Palin."
The fact is that in an earlier poll before the conventions female voters were 50-42 in Obama's favor. Now one of the latest polls shows women at 53-41 for McCain.