Tonight's CNN Democratic presidential debate is likely to be the highest-rated cable debate in history. With Hillary Clinton significantly behind in pledged delegates, many are expecting her to point out very "sharp contrasts" between her and Obama. The traditional political wisdom is that she needs to go negative to try to blunt Obama's momentum.
Those expecting political fireworks should prepare for possible disappointment. Another debate is scheduled to take place just five days later on MSNBC. The Hillary Clinton campaign may plan to hold its fire until the next debate. By waiting until the MSNBC debate, the Obama campaign would have less time to address any of Clinton's criticisms before the critical March 4th primaries.
There is one important caveat. Early voting has already begun in both Ohio and Texas. Technically every day between now and March 4th can be seen as the day before the election. So maybe the time to drop the 11th hour surprise is now.