For the Democrats it's down to the wire: will they choose the first woman, or the first black, to run for president next year? Almost exactly two weeks from today, the primary race to choose a contender for the presidential election begins in Iowa, followed a few days later in New Hampshire, two states that command extraordinary clout in the process.

And it is a contest between Hillary Clinton, an accomplished practitioner of political warfare, and Barak Obama, who at 46 is still learning the tricks of the trade.

I leave it to you to consider whether the first woman, or the the first African-American president is the more remarkable event in American political life. And to consider further who for the Democrats is the safer bet to take on the Republican machine in November.

Mere weeks ago, Clinton looked not only electable but unbeatable. Polls put her in the lead, way ahead of Obama, in every primary state, sure to win her party's nomination. That was then.

Obama is now ahead in Iowa, albeit by a small margin, and seems to have eliminated the gap in New Hampshire. Moreover, some polls show him ahead in South Carolina, the third state to vote in the primaries.

Hillary Clinton may appeal to voters on the basis of her intelligence (and she has that in spades), but Americans, and that includes a lot of independents, may in the end choose a presidential candidate who will bring them together, and show their country's new face to the world, after the polarisations caused by eight years of Republican misrule. More HERE