SNAFTA: Hillary’s ‘NOhio’ Firewall Holds


NEXT STOP, US: The political road show that has crisscrossed the nation is now destined for Pennsylvania.Victories for Hillary Rodham Clinton in Ohio and Rhode Island last night, and a tight race in Texas, seemed certain to give her the momentum she needs to bring the race to the Keystone State. Not since Jimmy Carter in 1976 have residents in the state had a real voice in a presidential primary. As Gov. Rendell said just hours before the polls closed in Ohio, “We’ll know by the end of the night whether Pennsylvania will be irrelevant or the pennsylgreet2_1.jpgcenter of the universe.” So the next seven weeks before the April 22 vote will likely see intense campaigning by Clinton and Barack Obama, who is expected to still be ahead in the delegate race. They will descend on Pennsylvania armed with volunteers, advisers and political operatives in an effort to end the protracted fight for their party’s nomination. “It could be like Iowa on steroids,” said state Democratic Party chairman T.J. Rooney. MORE

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The big question: What constitutes a “win”? If the New York senator gets large majorities of the popular vote in both states, she will clearly keep fighting for the Democratic nomination, at least until the next major primary in Pennsylvania on April 22. If she loses both, she will face tremendous pressure totexas-hold-em-posters.jpg drop out of the race. Should the senators split the states’ contests — or if Sen. Clinton wins, but only by narrow margins — the debate will turn to how to interpret the results. If the outcomes are as close as polls suggest, Sen. Clinton won’t be able to cut into Sen. Obama’s lead in delegates to the Democrats’ August nominating convention. The more likely net result from the four states is that his edge will grow. The Illinois senator currently is ahead with 1,386 delegates to 1,276 for Sen. Clinton, as calculated by the Associated Press. A candidate needs 2,025 to secure the nomination. MORE

HILLARY’S MATH PROBLEM: Clinton aides say this will be the beginning of her comeback against Barack Obama. There’s only one problem with this analysis: they can’t count. I’m no good at math either, but with the help of Slate’s Delegate Calculator I’ve scoped out the rest of the primaries, and even if you assume huge Hillary wins from here on out, the numbers don’t look good for Clinton. In order to show how deep a hole she’s in, I’ve given her the benefit of the doubt every week for the rest of the primaries… MORE

THE SWAMP: Clinton’s apparent win in Ohio gives her more than enough reason, it seems, to keep up the fight against Obama — even if she doesn’t make up many delegates on him overall. That likely means she’ll keep pounding him on Tony Rezko and fitness for command. She’ll keep pitching superdelegates on the idea that she’s won the States That Matter. And political junkies can expect at least six more weeks — until the big April vote in Pennsylvania — of wall-to-wall primary coverage.

VERMONT SAYS ‘YES WE CAN’: Senator Barack Obama appeared poised to pick up his 12th straight victory over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic nominating race on Tuesday as the television networks and The Associated Press projected that he would win the Vermont primary, the first of four contests on a potentially decisive night. But attention remained focused on the contests in the delegate-rich states of Ohio and Texas, where Election Day polls showed Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton locked in a tight race. They are also competing in Rhode Island. MORE

MCCAIN CLINCHES NOMINATION; HUCKABEE BOWS OUT: The results were more decisive on the Republican side, where Senator John McCain captured all four primaries of the night. The A.P. and television networks projected that Mr. McCain has won enough delegates to clinch the nomination, and Mr. McCain’s sole remaining opponent, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, called Mr. McCain on Tuesday evening to concede the race. “I called Senator McCain a few moments ago,” Mr.mccainsuperman.jpg Huckabee told supporters in Irving, Tex. “I extended him not only my congratulations, but my commitment to him and to the party to do everything possible to unite our party.” MORE

THE POLITICO: A behind-the-scenes battle broke out late Tuesday over superdelegates who had secretly committed to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), with Clinton campaign officials scrambling to “freeze” them before they announced support for him. Democratic officials involved in the conversations said Obama was lining up a package of superdelegates – the party insiders whose votes help select the Democratic nominee – with plans to announce their support as a bloc. Obama also plans to announce he raised more than $50 million in February, considerably more than Clinton’s $35 million. The Obama theory was that the separate announcements would convey juggernaut-like momentum if Obama had big wins on Tuesday, and would help turn the page if he had a disappointing showing in the Texas or Ohio primaries. But aides to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) became convinced by network exit polls and her own data that she would have a stronger-than-expected showing. So they immediately began urging Obama’s prospective superdelegates to withhold their support. MORE

HUFFINGTON POST: Tom Brokaw appeared on Morning Joe this morning to discuss the state of the Democratic primary. While discussing Hillary’s long odds he mentioned that a source “very close to the Obama campaign” claimed the campaign had around 50 additional superdelegates “ready to gozombietv.gif public before too long.” MORE

WHY WE FIGHT: It’s official: the networks no longer cover news, they slap it onto the bottom edge of their regular programming like Post-it notes. There were crawls (“Huckabee drops out”) and brief updates, but viewers who wanted to immerse themselves in the speculation and suspense — and Tuesday night was arguably a more critical and dramatic election than Super Tuesday — were relegated to cable news. Not that CNN and its brethren did a bad job. It’s just that Tuesday night’s showdown between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton was momentous. Not having a prime-time election report on ABC, CBS or NBC was a little like celebrating an anniversary at an all-you-can-eat buffet instead of a fancy French restaurant: nobody leaves hungry, but it would have been nice to mark the event with a decent wine and starched linen napkins. MORE

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