Reporting by Mark Z. Barabak Los Angeles Times Staff Writer It was never going to be easy. Whatever happens in the general election, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s victory over New York Sen. Hillary Clinton after an epic 16-month battle for the Democratic nomination will go down as one of the great political upsets of all time. The freedom to fail buoyed Obama and his team when national polls showed him trailing by as much as 30 points, leading many political pundits to write him off.
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