Hillary Clinton won three out of four Democratic primaries, including ones in Ohio and Texas that were crucial to keeping her presidentical campaign alive. Democratic rival Barack Obama won the primary in Vermont and the caucus in Texas’s split voting system. To win the nomination, Clinton now “has to make up Obama’s delegate lead,” said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. “Is that possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not very.” (USA Today)
What the commentators said
Hillary Clinton just "did a McCain,” said Steve Clemons in The Washington Note. After winning both Ohio and Texas, “she’s back in the race . . . big time.” Obama still has something of his “magic aura,” but it’s “a bit more tarnished” after the media, feeling “guilty for imbalanced coverage,” has let some air out of the Obama “balloon.” Tuesday’s “bottom line” is that “Clinton is back and wants to win.”
She may want to, but the math doesn’t add up, said Steve Kornacki in The New York Observer’s Politicker blog. The results “weren’t nearly decisive enough” for her to make “headway” in the delegate race, where she “still lags about 100 behind Obama.” It’s now clear that Obama can’t “knock Hillary out of the race with a bang,” and Clinton just “earned the right to press on with her candidacy,” probably all the way to the convention. But Obama is “ideally positioned” to “out-last her” and win the nomination.
“This election isn’t over,” said Matt Cooper in Porfolio’s Capital blog, “and whining about superdelegates and math won’t help” Obama. Tuesday’s vote wasn’t “just the political resurrection of Hillary Clinton,” but a “huge role reversal.” Obama has moved from “Hope” to “math,” while Clinton is now arguing “that the people should be heard.” Obama’s campaign is “clearly rattled for the first time,” and if Clinton now wins Pennsylvania—which looks likely—“she certainly has a moral claim on the nomination.”
A resurgent Clinton is “the Republican dream,” said Michael Gerson in The Washington Post (free registration). She is now “the most effective agent of the vast right-wing conspiracy”—”a tenacious, buoyant, well-funded challenger to Barack Obama who is also politically doomed—and incapable of admitting she is doomed.” Clinton has helpfully raised the “potent issue” of Obama’s “foreign policy judgement,” and while she won’t exploit that for all it’s worth, John McCain certainly will.
The Democratic “soap opera” is certainly entering “its most dangerous stage,” said John Nichols in The Nation. “Tuesday night belonged to Clinton, and she owned it.” But she will attribute the wins to her campaign’s two weeks of “hits” against Obama—plagiarism, dressing like a Muslim, NAFTA double-speak—and it’s unlikely she’ll “pull any punches” now. Clinton, her supporters, and the party need to “think long and hard” about the rest of the Democratic race. If she “seeks to destroy Obama by any means necessary,” she’ll force “two defeats: Clinton’s for the nomination and Obama’s for the presidency in November.”