Clinton and the art of superdelegate maintenance

The immediate effect of yesterday's primaries on the race was predicted to be murky, given expectations that Clinton would win Indiana and Obama would win North Carolina. Today, after Obama won North Carolina handily and Clinton barely squeaked by in Indiana, many headlines are portraying Clinton as essentially down for the count.

The immediate effect of yesterday's primaries on the race was predicted to be murky, given expectations that Clinton would win Indiana and Obama would win North Carolina. Today, after Obama won North Carolina handily and Clinton barely squeaked by in Indiana, many headlines are portraying Clinton as essentially down for the count.

Obama received a lot of negative press coverage in recent weeks -- most notably the vitriolic speech of Rev. Wright at the National Press Club, which the senator pointedly denounced. Yet Clinton remains behind in both the delegate count and the popular vote, and at this point simply cannot catch up as a result of any of the primaries, given the system of proportional sharing of delegates.

Florida and Michigan's Democratic primaries were ruled invalid by the Democratic National Committee as a result of local officials' decision to move up their primary dates without permission, and their disenfranchisement remains a problem for the party as a whole. Voters went to the polls in droves for yesterday's primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, and that kind of enthusiasm can help deliver a win for the eventual nominee in November.

Until yesterday, the Clinton team appeared to hope to foster a sense in the media, or among voters, of a close race that could swing to Clinton's favor if superdelegates were persuaded to back her, or if the Florida and Michigan delegates she won were permitted to be counted at the convention in August. The Clinton campaign might have a valid argument that the party has a moral obligation to count those votes. But will anyone now listen?

Moreover, the behind-the-scenes campaign to win the favor of superdelegates might now swing toward Obama. States still remaining in the primary race include West Virginia, Kentucky, and South Dakota -- all fine places to live and work, but not political bellwethers that would create much sense of momentum to Clinton if she did win them.

Elsewhere on the trail:

Bill Clinton “bubba” appeal in North Carolina put to good use.

McCain says he is on your side, blue-collar Democrats.

Estados unidos con McCain: New Web site for Hispanic voters.

The new anti-elitist Obama is just an average Joe with humble origins.

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